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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Baule Polychrome Colonial Sculpture of a Woman
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Baule Polychrome Colonial Sculpture of a Woman - PF.4903
Origin: Central Ivory Coast
Circa: 20th th Century AD
Dimensions: 15.25" (38.7cm) high x 3.375" (8.6cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Colonial
Medium: Wood and Paint

Location: Great Britain
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The Baule believe that spirits (asie usu), both male and female, live in the bush and occasionally fall in love with human beings. When this happens a statue, such as this delightful example, is made to honor the spirit. The figure is treated like a real person, to the extent that it is fed and dressed by its owner. A 'spirit mate' that feels neglected will cause problems in the life of the living partner, and may cause impotency or infertility. A diviner is then needed to sort out the problem and appease the otherworld lover. This lovely young girl is a model of feminine beauty with her brilliant red skin, finely carved facial features and brightly colored accessories. She embodies all a man could wish for in a companion, a young healthy woman who is sexually attractive and capable of bearing many children. She symbolizes the intimate relationship between the physical world and the world of spirit. The Baule also carry wooden images of their real wives and husbands, taking the figure with them everywhere they go. Such images of devotion are one of the most charming ways art can influence and brighten our lives. - (PF.4903)


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