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Early 20th C. African Lobi Wooden Male Bateba Figure

West Africa, Burkina Faso or Mali, Lobi peoples, ca. early to mid 20th century CE. A finely-carved wooden male Bateba figure created to guard against sorcery, evil, and illness - his visage delineated with bulging eye lids, a pointed jaw, a slender nose, cupped ears, and full lips, all beneath a domed head. The figure stands nude atop spread legs and delineated genitalia, with a distended abdomen and protruding navel, grooved pectorals, and hanging arms defining the minimalist effigy. Given this sculpture's protective role, it was most likely placed on or around an altar as part of a group of various 'bateba' figures (literal translation of bateba is "wooden carved figure"). The precise meaning of each figure's shape and posture is difficult to ascertain, since these carvings were created as the result of a seer's vision for an afflicted individual who was suffering a particular malady. Custom wooden display stand included. Size: 2.625" W x 10.625" H (6.7 cm x 27 cm); 11.375" H (28.9 cm) on included custom stand.

Condition: Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, small hairline fissures to body and head, with some small chips to feet, arms, and head, and light roughness across most surfaces. Nice earthen deposits and brown patina throughout. Old inventory label on stand.

Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection

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