Baule Seated Female Spirit Spouse Côte d'Ivoire
This finely carved female figure comes from the Baule people of Ivory-Coast well known for the quality and detail of their carving. Baule figure sculptures fall into two categories, the first represents the wild spirits (asie usu) that live in the bush beyond village boundaries and the second category are the figures that represent ‚Äòspirit world' spouses for their owners.
Though representing bush spirits the asie usu are shown as wild spirits in beautiful bodies. These figures were used by trance diviners known as komien and were kept in a shrine in the diviner's house where the spirit of the bush could inhabit or metaphorically ‚Äòsit' on the figure. In addition to the idealized beauty of this figure other shrine objects are not carved and may be simple daubs of clay or pans filled with magical substances or roughly shaped figures. This figure in the past was covered with white clay representing other worldliness or spirituality. Diviners will perform in public where the spirit will possess them or will advise clients in private close by their shrine.