Lot 679: A Baule Mouse-Oracle
November 27, 2016
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Description: A Baule Mouse-Oracle with a seated figure in front of the container The container has two chambers, one smaller at the bottom and a bigger one in the upper part closed with the figurative top, the smaller one covered with a rusty iron plate. These containers have - according of my information in situ - a double function: they can be used as a container for tobacco or jewellery on one side and on the other as a mouse divination vessel, if a connection would be made between both chambers. To have the possibility to give the container a new function for divination sessions these vessels have very often the two chambers, which are important for a mouse oracle. "Baule artists and householders have created a profusion of useful objects decorated with exceptional care and skill. The practice of keeping important sculptures relatively hidden may have given rise to a desire among artists and owners for these highly visible, decorated objects...During the last quarter century, almost no decorated utilitarian objects were still beeing used in villages, although their large numbers in collections suggest that they were once very common, satisfying the basic desire for a pleasing, atheticized enviroment. Today, aesthetically pleasing objects that are machine made far from the village, and that are associated with modernity and money, have come into favor, replacing the handmade ones that exemplify Baule style, and that concern us here." Susan Vogel, African Art Western Eyes, Yale University Press, 1997: 270. Height: 31 cm, Weight: 3,2 kg