African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Bété Statue
Female figure Bété (N° 18341)
Rare statue, supposed to conserve the energy of a deceased. Some represent wives from the afterlife, according to the Baoulé concept. Mounted on massive feet, this muscular figure has an umbilical hernia and distinctive body scarifications of the group. The helmet hairstyle is also characteristic of the Bétés. For a similar copy, see page 42 of Ivory Coast's First Arts to ed. Mr. Sepia. Beautiful patina of use, grainy, inlaid with kaolin. Indigenous restoration using metal staples.
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The Bété are mainly in western Côte d'Ivoire that the Bété use masks linked to the cult of the bagnon. The style of their dance masks, supposed to cause dread, was influenced by the Wobé and Guéré peoples, together referred to as Wé or 'the men who readily forgive', itself belonging to the Krou cultural group, these traditions having been passed on to them and taught by the Nyabwa. Of warlike origin but also involved in the resolution of conflicts, this sacred mask is worn accompanied by amulets that protect its wearer from its power from witchcraft. It is in order to strengthen its power through the exercise of customary justice that these masks are made available to the chief.
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