|Title||Baule Seated Female Spirit Spouse Ivory Coast African Art|
|Type of Object||Carving, Figure, Statue, Sculpture|
|Country of Origin||Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Ghana|
|Approximate Age||Mid 20th century|
|Dimensions||Height: 20 Inches
Width: 4 Inches
Depth: 4.75 Inches
|Overall Condition||Fair. 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||Cracks, chips, old arrested bug damage. Chipped lip.|
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.
Attention is focused upon the head with emphasis given to the well-carved details of the face with arched eyebrows, rounded forehead and well-shaped mouth. The figure sitting on an well-carved stool has patterns of scarification on her face, the back of her neck, on her back. She wears carved bracelets and anklets. The elegant body and hairstyle reflect the sculptor’s imagination and ability to play with forms in a style that is innovative and individual. This is an exceptional Baule figure. It would stand out in any collection.
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