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Burkina Faso

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40. Lobi Bangala shrine fetish, Burkina Faso,
wood and sacrificial materials, 37" (94 cm)
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40. Lobi Bangala shrine fetish, Burkina Faso, wood and sacrificial materials, 37" (94 cm)
  This type of figure is used by the Lobi on shrines which generally have many statues of different purposes on them. Similar pieces are also carved by the neighboring Dagari. Note the remarkable eye the sculptor has demonstrated in “seeing” his form in the form of the tree itself before carving it, and also the fabulous minimalist representation of a human form. It is an art of great psychological and conceptual complexity, and one which, in its directness, continues to impress western artists and admirers. I find this piece to be remarkably sophisticated in its use of a minimum of means to produce a maximum of effect. Sacrificial materials were regularly added to the shrines, building up the surface, or patina, on each piece. This surface often offers scholars clues as to how a piece was used. Note how the encrustation is thicker on one side than the other- this was the side of the piece facing outward as it leaned on the shrine.

Anonymous Collection

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