Protective figure "bateba phuwe" Lobi, Burkina Faso. 

Lobi Figures are the enigmatic, brooding sculpture that protect the Lobi people of Burkina Faso. Most are frontal, symmetrical and timeless sentinels expressing the traditional beliefs of the Lobi. The figures were placed on family altars in the thilda, a small sacristy or room in each dwelling. Each figure was not a representation but an actual spirit, or tibil thil. It protected the family and home from illness and other misfortunes. The spirit could also be used for divination; it could demand offerings and additions of other figures. The accumulation of statues on a family altar gave social status and were passed on from father to son. Most were frontal and symmetrical, but some depart from the norm with unusually animated gestures, asymmetry or a great degree of symbolic abstraction.

This is a small Lobi Protective Altar figure standing with raised arms. Wearing a cap-like headgear and showing a defensive pose in order to ward off invisible enemies. Wood, dull, partly shiny, brown patina, encrusted in some areas, min. dam., cracks, minor missing parts, traces of wear and use. 

H: 14,3 cm - 5.6 inch.