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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Archive : Baule Wooden Sculpture of a Woman
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Baule Wooden Sculpture of a Woman - PF.6316
Origin: Ivory Coast
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 17" (43.2cm) high x 5" (12.7cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood


Additional Information: Sold

Location: United States
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Description
This sculpture represents a spouse from the spiritual world, called a Blolo Bla (Blolo Blian if masculine). Baule people believed that every person has such a spouse. It manifests itself through a series of dreams, usually sexual in nature, and is believed to be responsible for practical and spiritual problems that arise in the life of that individual. Once carved under the direction of a village diviner, the statue is kept in the person’s room and is offered food.

It is easy to fall in love with this gorgeous sculpture. She is the idealized form of feminine beauty, a lover we only know through dreams. She is a momentary vision of perfection made eternal through wood. She stands in a characteristic pose with her hands held alongside her belly, her legs wide apart, and her knees slightly bent. Raised decorative scarification, evident on the sides of her torso and neck as well and her face, served both as an indication of social rank as well as an enhancement of sexual desirability. Her finely molded face, rendered with bulging almond-shaped eyes typical of the Baule style, is surmounted by an intricately represented coiffure. Her hair has been carefully gathered and braided into a central crest flanked on either side by two smaller crests that all merge into one larger braid. Two smaller braids jut out from the sides of her head, behind her ears. Her bosom and distinct genitalia reveals her spiritual fertility that haunts our dreams.
- (PF.6316)

 

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