This sculpture represents a spouse from the
spiritual world, called a Blolo Bla (Blolo Blian if
masculine). Baule people believed that every
person has such a spouse. It manifests itself
through a series of dreams, usually sexual in
nature, and is believed to be responsible for
practical and spiritual problems that arise in the
life of that individual. Once carved under the
direction of a village diviner, the statue is kept in
the person’s room and is offered food.
It is easy to fall in love with this gorgeous
sculpture. She is the idealized form of feminine
beauty, a lover we only know through dreams.
She is a momentary vision of perfection made
eternal through wood. She stands in an
uncharacteristic pose with her left hand turned
upwards above her belly. Perhaps she originally
held an offering of food to nourish her spirit.
Raised decorative scarification, especially
prevalent on her back, served both as an
indication of social rank as well as an
enhancement of sexual desirability. Her finely
molded face, rendered with the semi-circular
eyes typical of the Baule style, is surmounted by
an intricately represented coiffure. Her hair has
been carefully gathered and braided into a
central crest with two circular nodules above her
ears. Her ample bosom and distinct genitalia
reveals her spiritual fertility that haunts our
dreams. She is a maiden of our desires made
tangible, lovingly embellished with a necklace
and anklets of white glass beads, a final touch
enhancing her outstanding beauty.