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Baule Male Blolo Bian Spirit Spouse African Art 19 Inch

$425.00
Product #: 83355
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Title Baule Male Blolo Bian Spirit Spouse African Art 19 Inch
Type of Object Male figure
Country of Origin Cote d'Ivoire
People Baule
Materials Wood, beads, cotton cloth
Approximate Age mid 20th century
Dimensions 19.5 inches H.
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.
Damage/Repair shallow crack in shoulder, used cotton cloth, old repair in one arm


Additional Information:


A superb Baule figure with finial details and sculptural lines, elaborate hairstyle  and  evidence of  prolonged use.


 Baule people believe that people care born into the world already married. This spirit spouse has great influence, for good and evil, over life on earth. After earthly marriage, one night of the week is kept for sleeping with the spirit spouse, and earthly spouses may not sleep together. The carvings are kept very private, and are rarely seen. Baule figurative statuary is some of the best known and most collected. Finely carved male and female figures ranging is size from small to big 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. 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. Other world spouses , are kept in personal shrines where offerings are made to them and where they are close by their real world spouse.


The figures reflect Baule ideals of beauty and aesthetic as the female (blolo bla) and male (blolo bian) figures exhibit youthful, well formed bodies and with much attention to details of hair and scarification as well as being dressed in what is considered fashionable and in recent times in European style clothing. The well-carved figures are burnished to a dark glossy patina from much handling when being treated with the respect due an other world spouse . 


Recommended 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


I have examined this piece and agree with the description
Niangi Batulukisi, Ph.D.