Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Baule Female Spirit Spouse Miniature Ivory Coast African Art

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $145.00 Regular Price $250.00
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Title Baule Female Spirit Spouse Miniature Ivory Coast African Art
Type of Object Carving, Figure, Statue, Sculpture
Country of Origin Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Ghana
People Baule
Materials Wood
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Height (in) 16
Width (in) 2.5
Depth (in) 3
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.

Additional Information: This finely carved female figure comes from the Baule people of Ivory Coast well known for the quality and detail of their carving. Baule figure sculptures fall into two categories, the first represents the wild spirits (asie usu) that live in the bush beyond village boundaries and the second category are the figures that represent ‘spirit world’ spouses for their owners. Though representing bush spirits the asie usu are shown as wild spirits in beautiful bodies. These figures were used by trance diviners known as komien and were kept in a shrine in the diviner’s house where the spirit of the bush could inhabit or metaphorically ‘sit’ on the figure. In addition to the idealized beauty of this figure other shrine objects are not carved and may be simple daubs of clay or pans filled with magical substances or roughly shaped figures. This figure in the past was covered with white clay representing other worldliness or spirituality. Diviners will perform in public where the spirit will possess them or will advise clients in private close by their shrine.


Further 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