Asie Usu Figure - Baule - Ivory Coast - SOLD

Refinement in African art Baoulé

In Africa, the Baoulé traditionally believe in the existence of bush spirits that take human form. Few people have seen them, but diviners say they are ugly, hunchbacked, hairy. Invisible to everyone, they have a strange affection for some humans. Problem: for a spirit, how to enter into intelligence with a living? To possess it, literally. The genius seizes a person who becomes a medium, a komyenfwé, able to give information on the future, the care to bring. Voluptuous and mischievous, these spirits become clement and beneficial if they are honored.

How to act on them? To bring them to "live" temporarily in a work of art that will absorb their power, to regulate it. The statue is not the "portrait" of the genie, just its interior. According to the expression, "genius lives in the statuette" (Asia usu i tran olè). Or it will be the "stool" on which it will arise, which explains why some of these figures, like this one, represent characters sitting on a traditional seat. Dissatisfaction is characteristic of geniuses: after agreeing to reside in the village, they do not want to just look like ordinary people; it is important for them to appear under idealized, magnified features. If the African figure is to be as attractive as possible, it is because genius demands that all that passes in humans be concealed for defects. If the statuette was ugly, the genius would think that it makes fun of him. A splendid work, on the other hand, predisposes the genius to be benevolent.

This exceptional statue proposed by our art gallery was quickly acquired by a collector. Our site is the Belgian reference in African art.

53 x 12 cm 

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Data sheet

Presumed dating
1st half XXth century
Ethnic group
Baoulé / Baulé
Ivory Coast
Tribal art collection France

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