African art > Jars, amphoras, pots, matakam > Baule box

Box of oracles Gbékré sé Baoulé (N° 20373)

African divinatory art.
Destined for a practice still in use today in the Baule region of the southwest, the object consists of a meditating tutelary figure, visibly in meditation, leaning against a circular receptacle with a floor. A mouse, considered to be the messenger of the deities of the earth, lived in the lower compartment of the object and the successive arrangement of the elements it moved was read as an answer to the question put to the diviner. The piece is also equipped with a carrying strap. A metal plate, partially torn, lines the bottom of the box. Shaded brown grainy patina, partially abraded.

Ref: Mathilde Buratti , "Boxes used for divination by mice".

During the 18th century, united under a single banner, this Akan people was, according to legend, guided by Queen Aba Pokou to the gold mining region in the east of the Ivory Coast to settle there. The unity of the Baoulé fell apart as a result of internal struggles as well as the gold rush since the arrival of the Europeans, resulting in a multitude of small, disassociated villages, led by councils of elders.  

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OriginEx-collection française
EthnyBaoule
Countrycôte d'ivoire
Material(s)wood
Height28
Depth27
Width19
Weight3.07 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°

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