Bloblo bian figure
Carved wood and pigments
Early 20th century
Height: 14 ½ in. (37 cm)
Ex collection L. Van de Velde, Antwerp, 1982
Ex collection A. Schlag, Brussels
The more elaborate the ornamental and decorative features of an individual work, the more time has been invested in its execution by the sculptor, and the greater the expense to its owner. The culmination of such efforts hopefully results in the creation of a sculpture that is most attractive to the asye usu (spirits). When used by Baule diviners, such works not only flatter the spirits but also add to the theatrical spectacle of a public pronouncement of a divinatory revelation. Their aesthetic quality dazzles potential clients with the caliber and sophistication of the instruments associated with a diviner.
The beauty of a figure advertises its owner's success as an intermediary with the spirit world.