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    Description

    BAULE, Ivory Coast
    Standing Female Figure

    Wood, pigment, glass beads, cotton string

    The Baule are an Akan-speaking people like their powerful relatives, the Asante, to the east in Ghana, but unlike the Asante, the Baule have never built a state system. Instead, each Baule village is autonomous, engaged in subsistence agriculture.

    Baule figure sculpture never depicts ancestors; instead, it usually represents earth spirits, "Asie usu" or "spirit spouses" from the spirit world, from which every soul is born into this world. Every soul has a spirit spouse in the spirit world; a man has a "Blolo Bla" or "spirit wife," while a woman has a "Blolo Bian" or "spirit husband." Normally, these spirits cause no trouble, but they can, for whatever reason, become jealous or feel neglected, causing trouble. If a person has an unusual run of bad luck, a diviner may be consulted to find the cause. If it is determined that the cause is a jealous or neglected spirit spouse, the person will be advised to have an image of the spirit spouse, whose details will be dictated in dreams, carved and installed near the bed. Small sacrifices will be made to it, care taken of it and time spent with it. Such figures are never mentioned in polite conversation; they are private. Unlike the image of an earth spirit, the spirit spouse never receives coatings of sacrificial materials. Such figures are washed and dressed like people; they always have clean surfaces. The sculpture is kept until the owner feels that the spirit spouse is no longer a problem, or until the owner dies and it becomes irrelevant. Some images are passed down to descendants.

    The clean, angular style of the present "Blolo Bla," or spirit wife is quite unlike the more rounded style characteristic of most Baule figure carvings, but instead resembles some more angular substyles to be found in the northeastern parts of Baule territory.

    Provenance:
    The Robert V. Berg Collection

    Read more about the Robert V. Berg Collection here.



    Height: 17 ΒΌ inches


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2016
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 377

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