Baule Spirit Spouse Female on Base Congo African Art


$66.5 $95

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Type of Object Carving Country of Origin Ghana or Ivory Coast People Baule Materials Wood Approximate Age 20th century Height (in) 10 Width (in) 2 Depth (in) 2.5 Other Dimensions 11.5 inch height on stand Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Additional Information:  Baule figurative statuary is some of the best known and most collected. Finely carved male and female figures ranging is size from small to large are generally portrayed in a standing position of formal calmness with arms close to the body and hands resting on the abdomen. Attention is focused upon the head with emphasis given to detailed face and neck scarification and elaborate coiffures. Figures are often enhanced through the addition of gold leaf or by jewelry.  The well-carved figures are burnished to a dark glossy patina from much handling. 
Baule figure sculptures fall into two categories, the first represents spirits of the wild (asie usu) that live in the bush beyond village boundaries and the second are male and female figures that represent ‘spirit world’ spouses for their owners.
This particular piece may represent the spirit of ancestor. As for other figures in this category, the piece was kept in personal shrines where offerings were made to it. This shrine sculpture honors the ancestors.  The same piece may also have served at the divination and kept in a shrine for Mbra and displayed during the trance or divination process to assist the priest.
Further reading:
P. L. Ravenhill: Baule Statuary Art: Meaning and Modernization, Institute for the Study of Human Issues, Working Paper 5 (Philadelphia, 1980)
S. M. Vogel: Beauty in the Eyes of the Baule: Aesthetics and Cultural Values, Institute for the Study of Human Issues, Working Paper 6 (Philadelphia, 1980)
S. M. Vogel, Baule, African Art, Western Eyes. 1997
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