Africa is a stunning continent that consists of a number of striking qualities. One of the first places a person’s mind goes is to the scenery and wildlife that Africa includes. What many do not appreciate though, is the fascinating culture that Africa withholds. Numerous artifacts and cultural items go unnoticed because of this. Mali is just one of the many spots in Africa that go underappreciated, containing many artifacts with meaningful purposes. The Seated Male Figure with Lance is an example of the many eye-catching artworks that have been recovered from Mali. This artifact has a lot of relevance to the Mali empire and it speaks volumes about the culture. By taking the time to understand this artifact a little better, a little bit more knowledge is gained in the aspect of understanding Mali’s culture.
This artifact dates anywhere from the sixteenth to twentieth century and was suggested to come from the Mali region. A well-known Mali group, the Bamana people, are credited with crafting this artistic piece. The figure is made of wood, but the type of wood is not necessarily specified. Officially it was classified as a wood-sculpture by the Met Museum, which confirms the material is was made out of. Standing at 35 inches tall, it has a sturdy build which promises its longevity. Interestingly enough, this sculpture was not made for a larger group of people, like many of the artifacts the Bamana people made. Instead, this sculpture was made as a gift for two people, named John and Evelyn Kossak, in honor of a man named Martin Lerner. However, the sculpture would go on to be used for other purposes.
This figure would go on to be a main detail in distinct celebrations hosted by the Jo and Gwan groups, who organized induction ceremonies in different villages. They wanted to introduce their ideal image of a man in their society. This man is a leader, who would have an equal counterpart and child who would match up to his superiority. He (the figure) was deemed to have certain powers and attributes that a regular member of the Mali society would not possess which would justify why he was being honored so highly. The figure was greatly respected and put forth an image many would try to follow. Due to his lengthy body, it is evident this figure is not meant to be like anyone else, however. To better understand him, a person can look at what he has and how he carries himself. The first thing to notice is the hat he wears on head a hunters hat covered in amulets. This depicts his fearlessness and power, as well as his ability to be efficient in locating game. He is completely dressed to