Tribal art > African Statues > Lobi Statues
Lobi altar figure (N° 18623)
Ex Belgian tribal art collection.
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This effigy of a sacred ancestor was carved after various rituals prescribed by the diviner in which the descendants participated. When the lineage was extinguished, the statue was yielded or abandoned.
Standing on narrow legs, the tall female figure has a cambered back, marking the abdominal bulge, while the arched shoulders are extended by very long arms clinging to the bust. The features, framed by cylindrical ears placed at jaw level, are prominent. The lips cut in perfect rectangle animate the face. The physiognomy and the general attitude express a form of introspection collected. Granular residues mixed with bird down, resulting from ritual libations, are scattered throughout the work. Streaks are also slightly visible. Excellent general condition. Very slight cracks of dessication.
The populations of the same cultural region, grouped together under the name "lobi", make up one fifth of the inhabitants of Burkina Faso. Few in Ghana, they have also settled in the north of the Ivory Coast. It is at the end of the 18th century that the Lobi, coming from northern Ghana, settled among the indigenous Thuna and Puguli, the Dagara, Dian, Gan and Birifor. The Lobi believe in a creator God called Thangba Thu, to whom they address themselves through the worship of numerous intermediate spirits, the Thil, who are supposed to protect them, with the help of the diviner, against a series of plagues. In addition, bush geniuses, red-haired beings called Kontuor, are supposed to help them. In order to communicate with men, the different Thils ask for bateba sculptures in order to incarnate themselves. Different sacred altars are erected around the lobi houses. The sanctuary of the family home is called the Thildu, where tribal sculptures of wood, iron or brass, statues of ancestors and batebas are grouped together. Among the Gurunsi, for example, the Nuna had similar figures dedicated to identical uses.
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