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

Box of oracles Gbékré sé Baoulé (N° 21486)

African divinatory art.
Destined for a practice still in use today in the Baule region of the southwest, the sculpture offers a mediating tutelary figure, supported on a circular receptacle with a floor. The sides of the container are decorated with parallel lines and eroded geometric patterns. A mouse, considered to be the messenger of the earth's deities, 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 asked of the diviner. A metal plate was fitted under the box.
Velvety patina, speckled with ochre white.
Ref: Mathilde Buratti , "The 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 declined as a result of internal struggles and the gold rush since the arrival of the Europeans, and eventually led to a multitude of small, disassociated villages, governed by councils of elders.  

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OriginEx-collection française
EthnyBaoule
Countrycôte d'ivoire
Material(s)wood, plant fibre
Height30
Depth21
Width26
Weight2.63 Kg

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