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Highlights: African Art

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Image of Male Spirit Figure (Blolo Bian)

Baule Peoples

Male Spirit Figure (Blolo Bian)

20th century

Object Type: Sculpture
12 1/8 in. x 3 3/8 in. x 2 1/2 in. (30.8 cm x 8.57 cm x 6.35 cm)
Medium and Support: Wood and pigment
Accession Number: 2013.0017.0007

Credit Line: Gift of Dileep and Martha Mehta

Currently On View

This male "blolo bian" figure represents a spirit spouse. The Baule believe that each person has a partner in the spirit world who may cause problems if they become jealous. Baule diviners often advise people to have spirit partner figures carved and painted to provide a presence for the spirit in this world. The Baule acknowledge their spirit partners by selecting one night each week when the spirit partner may visit them in their dreams. On that night they sleep alone and in the morning they present the figure with gifts to keep the spirit spouse happy.

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