O8L9S704S.jpg (29787 bytes)O8L9S704.jpg (33782 bytes)Lobi, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana

Bateba Figure. Lobi people number 160,000 to 300,000. Formerly warlike, even among themselves, they occupy defensible compounds with narrow openings and fairly high walls. They are primarily agriculturists, with millet, sorghum, and corn fields surrounding their compounds. Villages are comprised simply of several compounds living under the rules, protection, and beneficence of a particular deity, thil, associated with their land. Social behavior is regulated by these thila (plural of thil), whose will is passed to ordinary people by priests and diviners. It is thila, who order sculptures and other art forms to be made. The most important of these forms is the sculpture called bateba. The bateba is the name for anthropomorphic sculptures in human form, but with supernatural powers. According to the Lobi these statues are living beings which can move, speak to each other and even die when their bodies have decayed too far. On the advice of soothsayers, bategas are placed in shrines where they help to ward off disease, misfortune and above all witches. The specific meaning of this  statue is unknown

Material: wood

Size: 18”x 8”x 4½”