The Baule are one of a number of African groups who
believe that before birth, human beings all had Blolo bla (spirit wife) and Blolo bian (spirit husband) spouses in the other
world who can influence their lives. Baule artists and their nearby neighbors seem to be the only artists in Africa who
traditionally carved figural representations of spirit spouses'The more elaborate the ornamental and decorative features of an individual work, the more time has been invested in
its execution by the sculptor, and the greater the expense to its owner. The culmination of such efforts hopefully results
in the creation of a sculpture that is most attractive to the asye usu. When used by Baule diviners, such works not only
flatter the asye usu but also add to the theatrical spectacle of a public pronouncement of a divinatory revelation. Their
aesthetic quality dazzles potential clients with the caliber and sophistication of the instruments associated with a diviner.
The beauty of a figure advertises its owner's success as an intermediary with the spirit world. Consequently, diviners
prosper by commissioning superlative figures as divinatory instruments. Ownership of extraordinary objects thus directly
affects a diviner's professional standing and enhances public perception of his or her efficacy.
Sources: A History of Art in Africa / Africa - The Art of a Continent This elegant figure has a deep black patina .ex Pierre Loos ,ex Berz gallery ,ex private collection belgium