Baule Figure - Côte d'Ivoire

Divinatory figures among the Baule were used as dwellings of asye usu, or bush spirits, incorporeal consciousnesses from outside the village bounds brought into communication with the diviner. Such figures were designed as ideal male or female forms, so much the better to please the spirits and entice them to remain. This old and fine female example stands erect upon strong legs, with arms carved in relief, hands resting at the navel. Scarification decorates the front and back of the torso and face. Time and use have eroded this figure's surface, and its mouth is worn from ritual feedings.

Late 19th century
H 20" W 3.5"
Ex private U.S. collection
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