Lobi Standing Maternity Figure, African Carving
Additional Information: This figure is an extraordinary example of the art of the Lobi. The carving depicts a mother holding a child. Lobi sculpture is known for its numerous styles and sub-styles and figural variety in a ranges of size. Because of its size, the offered figure belongs to the class of Lobi large sculpture known as Bateba. Bateba are carved to represent Thila spirits that protect family compounds from negative spirits of dead and forces of the wild bush.
Spread across three countries, the Lobi today live in small villages in individual fort-like family compounds surrounded by cultivated fields. Within the walls of the compound family life includes the family head, his wives, married sons and their families, living together in the family compound that also has shrines dedicated to spirits called Thila. These spirits are represented by male and female sculptures that are grouped around family or personal shrines in multiples of figures and paired as male and female. Offerings and prayers are made to them while the Thila communicate through diviners and sorcerers to their owners. Diviners seek to determine the cause of events and to propitiate the spirits use Thila figures contacting them through offerings and magical formulae.
For further information and examples see:
Daniela Bognolo, Lobi, Visions of Africa. 5 Continents Editions. 2007
I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.