blolo bian Baule figure (Three quarters view)
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Item : blolo bian Baule figure, Picture : Three quarters view (approx. 15 Kbytes)


Among the Baule, figural sculptures represent either nature spirits (asie usu) or « other-world » mates, the ancestor figures (blolo bian, male figures, or blolo bla, the female ones).
Nature spirits may possess humans or cause disturbances in their lives. People afflicted with such problems commission a sculpture to appease the spirits. An « other-world » mate is an individual's counterpart that inhabits another realm. When this mate is upset, perhaps jealous, a sculpture version is created, placed in its owner's personal shrine and is lovingly cared for and handled. Figures used by diviners are usually handled with care and often a figure is displayed near the diviner during a public performance. When they function to localize a troublesome spirit, these figures may receive libations and thus develop an encrusted surface.
Both nature spirits and « other-word » spelling mates require their material manifestation to be in the form of an attractive human being. Thus, the aesthetics of such sculptures reflect Baule canons of beauty. The finely detailed head, upright torso, hands clasping the belly, and bent legs are formal elements characteristic of Baule figural sculpture.

Object #5360

Origin :

Ivory Coast

Type :

Statuary

Ethnic group :

Baoule

Material :

Fine aged patinated wood, with brownish encrusted sacrificial patina

Size :

H = 14.9 inches

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