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    Description

    LOBI, Burkina Faso
    Man's Stool

    Wood

    The Lobi live in dry savannah country, where they raise millet, sorghum and maize. They define themselves, above all, as farmers. Lobi villages are not organized on the basis of kinship or political ties and they lack centralized authority in the form of a chief or council of elders. Rather, a common adherence to the cult of a particular nature spirit is the unifying factor. A male society provides another unifying force, and men, as family compound heads, build shrines in their homes to selected nature spirits, probably determined by diviners.

    There are two types of stools used by the Lobi: a woman's stool is rectangular, with four legs and a projecting handle that may end in a female head facing down, to the earth. It is carved from one piece of hard wood, and is used pragmatically in the activities of daily life.

    A man's stool, "toopar," is also carved from one piece of hard wood. It has three legs. A man acquires this stool as a sign of adulthood upon initiation into the male society and the building of his family shrine. This tripod stool has a long, projecting front leg and two shorter back ones, above which there may be a figurative carving of an animal, such as an antelope head that may stand for a bush spirit, or one or two human heads. The stool form is said to derive from a farmer's hoe stuck in the ground, a description that underscores Lobi self-identification as farmers. Lobi men take these stools with them everywhere they go, carrying them over the left shoulder with the long, single leg hanging down over the chest. Sitting on his stool helps protect the owner from contact with potentially hostile spirits if he is away from home on strange ground. The "toopar" has also been used as an impromptu weapon in a fight. A decoration of Janus heads on the back of the stool protects against sorcery because they can see everywhere; the male and female heads on this stool may serve the same purpose.

    Provenance:
    The Robert V. Berg Collection

    Read more about the Robert V. Berg Collection here.



    Length: 20 ½ inches


    Estimate: $700 - $1,000.

    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: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 483

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