African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statues Lobes
Statues Lobes (N° 12569)
This effigy of a sacred ancestor was carved after various rituals including his descendants and prescribed by the soothsayer. It is then when the lineage goes out that the statue can be ceded or abandoned. The broad shoulders, the bulging torso, the slightly raised chin, and the rigid position give a certain majesty to this forefather with long arms attached to the body that end in small digital hands. Lacking tegumental ornamentation, the emphasis is on the relief of the buttocks and lower limbs, by the sugggestion of a powerful musculature. This work has marks of erosion and cracks of desication, its surface encrusted with kaolin anointings has acquired a very beautiful grey patina. The feet are welded on a metal base. The populations of the same cultural region, grouped under the name one-fifth of Burkina Faso's population. Few in Ghana, they also settled in northern Côte d'Ivoire. It was at the end of the 18th century that the Lobi, coming from northern Ghana, settled among the indigenous Thuna and Puguli, the Dagara, the Dian, the Gan and the Birifor. The Lobi believe in a creator God named Thangba Thu , to whom they address through the worship of many intermediate spirits, the Thil, the latter being supposed to protect them, with the help of the soothsayer, from a host of plagues. Bush geniuses, red-haired beings called Kontuor, are also supposed to help them. To communicate with men, the different Thils ask for bateba sculptures in order to be incarnated. Various sacred altars are erected around the lobi houses. The sanctuary of the family home is called the Thildu, where tribal sculptures of wood, iron or brass, statues of ancestors and batebas are grouped.
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Monsieur Jean-Charles Mercier, a company director, has decided to part with his first art collection. It was his grandfather, Guy Mercier, who started it at the beginning of the 20th century. A consultant for the Solvay Group, he has been working throughout West and Central Africa. Although he has collected works in-situ, the majority of his collection is derived from Curiosity cabinets European capitals during the 1920s, but also prestigious galleries (Paris, Brussels, London, New York). When his grandfather disappeared, Jean-Charles inherited the entire collection in the early 1980s.