West Africa, Burkina Faso, Lobi peoples, ca. early to mid 20th century CE. A large standing anthropomorphic bateba (literally "carved wooden figure"), hand-carved from a single piece of hard wood and colored with a dark-brown pigment. The figure stands upon separated legs which trace upwards to delineated male genitalia, a slightly-distended abdomen, a protruding navel, and a pair of raised arms. The head is turned sideways, its countenance comprised of almond eyes, a flat nose, full lips, and cupped ears, all below a simple, arched coiffure. This figure is known as a "bateba ti puo," or "dangerous bateba," not because it is meant to harm, but rather protect. Figures like this example are typically place in or near building entrances to safeguard those inside from malevolent forces such as disease, evil spirits, or witchcraft. Also referred to as a "bateba duntundara," this is a beautiful example! Custom museum-quality display stand included. Size: 17.75" H (45.1 cm); 18.375" H (46.7 cm) on included custom stand.
Provenance: private Los Angeles, California, USA collection
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Age-commensurate surface wear and abrasions, small chips to feet, torso, arms, and head, with fading to some high-point areas and pigmentation, otherwise intact and very good. Nice earthen deposits throughout.