Among the Lobi, the 'priest' or diviner advises people to carve these so-called 'Bateba' figures, or have them carved. These figures serve as a temporary abode for the wandering spirits ('Thil'), blamed for all evil. The 'Bateba' figures are then placed in shrines. The above, female 'Bateba' figure is carved from light and light-coloured wood and dyed black. The raised arms pose refers to a special woman dance intended to ward off evil spirits from the ceremonial funeral site. Placed in a shrine, such a 'Bateba' figure prevents evil spirits from entering the sacred space. A piece of exceptionally fine workmanship, the back with minor damage owing to age. 1st Half 20th Cent., H: 30 cm. (ME)
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