Protective figure "bateba ti puo" 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 strong and impressive Lobi Protective Altar figure; showing elongated and angular lines, rising from strong legs, one arm close to the towering body and the left arm stretched out aside, a strong neck carrying an oval head with simplified facial features. This figure belongs to the type of "dangerous persons" ("ti puo"), they show a defensive attitude, elevating one or both hands aside the head in order to ward off invisible enemies.

Wood, greyish brown patina patina, encrusted in some areas, insect caused damage, age cracks (see pictures), minor missing parts, traces of offering and wear and use. Custom mounted on a MDF base.

H: 61 cm - 24 inch. Provenance: Purchased from a Belgium Lobi collector.

Price: € 1275,-    Now: € 675,-