Gbekre Se mouse oracle box - Baule - Ivory Coast


Famous traditional african oracle box called "Gbekre se" in Baule culture The word Gbekre means ‘mouse’ in the Baule language and boxes such as this were used for divination. To the inside would have been a device composed of sticks that recorded the movement of mice as a means to reveal insights into important matters related to the tribe. According to baule religion mice could once speak until they were taken from the world of the spirits by mankind. The ability of the mouse to burrow into the earth was seen as a means of them accessing the spiritual world and thus hidden knowledge. The art of divination associated with these boxes takes many years to master. The figures to the front of the boxes have been interpreted as ancestor figures.Large wooden box from Baule people with domed lid and body; the lid engraved with a series of geometric lines, the body with rectangular panels consisting of numerous squares, carved animal heads between. The oval box resting on a series of small rectangular feet which in turn rest on a base. The lid of the box attached to the body by raffia rope. To the front of the box a seated figure of a male with hair swept back, small beard to the chin, scarification marks to the side of the head. The hands resting on the knees.See a similar one in "Trésors de Côte d'Ivoire", F. Neyt.Origin : private collection, BelgiumDating : 1935Size : 23 x 22 x 16 cmMaterials : wood, iron, rope

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Data sheet

Ethnic group
Baoulé / Baulé
Ivory Coast
Tribal art collection Belgium

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