Baule Wooden Sculpture of a Woman

SKU PF.5945

20th Century AD


22″ (55.9cm) high x 6″ (15.2cm) wide




Ivory Coast

Gallery Location

S Korea


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 an uncharacteristic pose with her left hand turned upwards above her belly. Perhaps she originally held an offering of food to nourish her spirit. Raised decorative scarification, especially prevalent on her back, served both as an indication of social rank as well as an enhancement of sexual desirability. Her finely molded face, rendered with the semi-circular 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 with two elliptical nodules above her ears. Her ample bosom and distinct genitalia reveals her spiritual fertility that haunts our dreams. She is a maiden of our desires made tangible, lovingly embellished with a necklace of glass beads, a final touch enhancing her outstanding beauty.

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