Figure Pair

Figure Pair

late 1800s to early 1900s

Part of a set. See all set records

Wood, beads

Part 1: 49.5 x 9.1 x 13 cm (19 1/2 x 3 9/16 x 5 1/8 in.); Part 2: 47.7 x 10 x 11 cm (18 3/4 x 3 15/16 x 4 5/16 in.)

Gift of Katherine C. White 1971.297

Description

Baule figures carved as pairs usually represent untamed spirits of the wilderness called asye usu. These spirits may intervene in the lives of individuals by taking possession of them. If this possession does not result in madness, it can lead to the human host’s becoming a diviner who can enter into a trance to reveal the causes of ailments and other misfortunes. People who feel their lives are being interrupted by the asye usu commission carvings representing idealized male and female forms whose grace and beauty in both anatomy and adornment will seduce the spirits and compel them to use the sculptures as their temporary homes.

See also
Collection: 
African Art
Department: 
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture
Medium: 
Wood, beads

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