Drissa Coulibaly, Koulé from Korhogo, *ca. 1930 +2022

Drissa Coulibaly was a Koulé and belonged to Senufo sub-group of the Fodonon. He was born around 1930 in the region south of Korhogo. His son is Bakari Coulibaly, who now is the strongest Koulé of the entire Senufo tribe and learned carving from his father. Drissa carved from the 1950ies until the 1990ies. He died after long illness in an age of over 90 years on the 22nd of October 2022 in Korhogo.


The shown Syonfolô is at this time the only documentated sculpture of Drissa. Although during his lifetime he made an enormous amount of various cult objects as well as objects of everyday life. This statue was collected by Souleymane Arachi's father Dramani Arachi in the 1960ies. The date of origin goes back into the 1950ies.


This horserider shows a family, father and mother with two children. Usually a male rider sits on a horse and represents power and force. Showing a family on a horse is is not unusual, but the scenery is different. The male rider on this statue holds also a modern gun beside a traditional lance in right hand. In the 1950ies the Massa cult influenced the area with a violent force. Many sculptures, especially ones with faces, were destroyed. There are other Senufo objects from this time known, especially in the Karl-Heinz Krieg collection, that show male statues with a gun or small miniatures of guns and riffles carved in wood are known as little objects used by a diviner. The family is the center of life in Senufo culture. Persumibly these weapons are a symbol of protecting the family.


The composition of this Syonfolô looks humble at first view. But it is very complex, because many symbols are combined. The carver had to create a horse and on top a sitting dressed man holding two weapons in his hands and behind him a sitting nacked woman holding a girl and a boy on her lap. The man sits bend forwards in an attentive position. He wears trousers and a shirt (persumibly a soldier's uniform) with a belt. The square shaped pockets lead all around the waistline. Persumibly these pockets are for munition or are magazins for bullets. There are four cuttings in triangular shape in the men's torso. It is not to determine, what they stand for or symbolize. He also wears a moustache and a pointy beard, which looks like a Dogon style, but is still worn today by the men of the Senufo tribe. The woman wears traditional braids, bound to a tail. All these details are carved with a lot of attention. Especially the arms holding weapons and children are carved with many cut-outs.












Syonfolô, carved by Drissa Coulibaly,

Koulé of the Fodonon from Korhogo.

Collected by Dramani Arachi, Korhogo, in the 1960ies.

Date of origin in the 1950ies.

38,5 x 16,5 x 11,0 cm, wood.



not published yet.