Moral tales and proverbs have generated a whole spectrum of paintings, often dealt with humorously, and with certain characters treated with derision. There is no doubt that these pictures follow the same pedagogic purpose as the tales, sayings, riddles and other stories that are told at home by the fireside in the evening. When the women were out buying reverse-glass paintings to decorate their homes, they not only sought out examples that articulated their religious beliefs, but also ones that would show examples of good and bad behaviour to their children.





Alexis Ngom The Torment of the Bad Master, 1995

55x48 cm

Private collection

© Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren

This painting illustrates a widely held belief according to which a master who mistreated his animals will be punished after his death by the ones he mistreated.





Babacar Lo (Lô Ba)  The Baobab-Women, 1994

48 x 33 cm

© Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren

A tale from Casamance: two young women are turned into baobab trees for mocking an elderly hunchback. The moral of the story is a reminder of the strong respect in which the elderly are held in African societies.




Anne-Marie Bouttiaux-Ndiaye 

in Senegal Behind Glass, Images of Religious and Daily Life

(Profane genres and subjects) 

© 1994 Prestel-Verlag, Munich and New York and the Royal Museum for Central Africa





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