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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Lobi : Lobi Sculpture of a Woman with Raised Arms
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Lobi Sculpture of a Woman with Raised Arms - PF.6201
Origin: Burkina Faso
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 8.75" (22.2cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Wood

Location: UAE
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There is a distinct group of Lobi figural sculptures (known as bateba) that feature dramatic gestures such as surprise or melancholy. This sculpture, depicting a woman with both her arms raised towards the heavens, is one such example. While similar postures exist in the works of other tribes, specifically the nearby Dogon/Tellum, and often signify a prayer for rain, the gesture is thought to have a very different meaning in this case. Females with their arms raised are as spiritual aids in times of dire need. When one is cursed, this sculpture will aid the individual to lift the hex. This sculpture invokes the aid of deceased ancestors in order to counteract the influence of the curse. The Lobi revere a spiritual force known as the thil that dictate the laws of the tribe to a local diviner. Each household reserves a corner of the abode to a small shrine dedicated to the thil. Therefore, if one suffers from the malfeasance powers of a curse, it is implied the thil are working against that person. By placing this sculpture on the household shrine and honoring it with sacrifices of oil, blood, and other such materials, the thil spirits will presumably be appeased and lift their harmful hex from off of the household. Thus, life can return to normal and projects, once initiate, can now be completed safely without fear of the curse. More than a gorgeous work of art, this sculpture is a charm capable of communicating with the spiritual world. When forces of evil beyond our control afflict us, this powerful bateba can restore harmony and equilibrium to our lives and ensure that those out to harm us are appeased. - (PF.6201)


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