Ivory Coast, of classical form, standing on integral rounded base, fine raised scarifications to the body and neck. Extremely classical features. Fine lustrous patina. height 17in
Provenance: Wally and Brenda Zollman
Exhibited: Governors State University, IL, 2003 Krannert Art Museum, IL, 2003 Belger Art Foundation/University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, 2004 Tall Grass Art Association, IL, 2005
Published: Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.13, fig.28
These standing elders likely present mates blolo bian who live in the 'other world. These spirits would have been revealed through divination following a crisis or a problem related to sexual dysfunction or marriage. The carving of a figure of this kind is commissioned as a stand-in for the other world mate, and offerings are placed at its feet. The three examples pictured here illustrate some of the variety that may be found in traditional Baule carving. Though structurally, the overall poise and proportion are similar, such details as the style of the coiffure, beard, scarification patterns and position of hands are not only at the discretion of the individual carver but may indeed serve as a signature piece for a particular artist.