Old Lobi Female Figure – Bateba Phuwe – Burkina Faso
1960-70′. Hard wood; cm. 19,5 high (7.68″); grams 164,7 (5.81 oz.).
Bateba figures serve as intermediaries between protective spirits, Thila, and men: “the objects defend the territory against evil intruders like witches and sorcerers. Their jurisdiction of the shrine on which they are placed extends generally to the house of the extended family” (Meyer 1984)
Bateba figurines show little character or personality and are carved with very little detail in order to appear as humble as possible in order to force as many favours as possible of the Thila.
There are several types of Bateba statues:
- Bateba Phuwe – the most common; humble posture, arms stretched along the body.
- Bateba Ti Bala – as the Bateba Phuwe, but in a Janus representation.
- Bateba Betise – copulating pairs.
- Bateba Yadawora – figurine with a sad expression or with one hand to the face to express dismay.
- Bateba Bambar – paralyzed Bateba, represented with his legs stretched in front of him.
- Bateba Ti Puo – Ti Puo means dangerous – this Bateba stops diseases and other mischief by the position of his arms.
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