Berz Gallery of African Art

Sweet Baule Figure with Layers of Applied Stain

Baule Tribe, Côte d'Ivoire

Composition: wood, pigment stain, encrustation, remains of yellow polychrome paint Dimensions: 6" (15.24 cm) h Age: early 20th century Provenance: Ex. Private American Collection (California) Certification: Every piece sold includes a handmade custom base and a comprehensive dossier with certificate and authenticity with any additional historical documentation or information pertaining to the object. Description: "With tiny bits of remaining yellow polychrome paint, layered patina and encrustation providing evidence of indigenous use within Baule ritual and spiritual life, and a sweetness to it that makes us want to keep it, this Baule figure is a true delight. Because of its stature (15 cm), it is likely that this figure may have functioned as the home of a spirit to whom sacrifices were made and had to be placated with care, often forming a mirror for the onlooker to assist in corrective behavior. (Photo of a Baule shrine is from Ravenhill, The University of Virginia). There may have been other possible functions for the figure that should not be entirely eliminated from a discussion about its original function. For example, asye usu figures (often elegantly carved standing male and female figures) were the abode of spirits associated with diviners, and bo usu sculptures were shrine figures to which sacrifices were made. Whatever the original use, this authentic, antique figure is a sleeper that will make a future owner very happy.