Lobi Head

hc-1207-21_lobi_f_  hc-1207-21_lobi_v_  hc-1207-21_lobi_b_  hc-1207-21_lobi_34p_

HCK 1207-21 – SOLD

Lobi “baa’thil” Head Sculpture, Burkina Faso

H: 66/74 cm (26″/29,1”) W: 11 cm (4,3”)

Wood, weathered greyish brown patina

Old Lobi “baathil” head stakes like this are placed in ‘sacred places’, and are meant as support for “khele”, a terrible power released by a killing. It is thrust into a mount of earth to form a “milkuur” shrine, and are supposed to protect the community from witchcraft, murder and other evil. The practice of carving a head without a body and sticking it on a shrine to symbolize the great power acquired by the murderers in the “milkuur” cult seems to originate from the ritual treatment that the Gan give the bodies of their kings and chief dignitaries. The bodies are always buried far away from the head.
In spite of age and use the sculpture is in a rather good condition with few damages, missing parts on the right side due to damages caused by insects. The head is mounted on a well-designed metal base.

Age: Est. first half of the 20th Century

Provenance: Private Belgian collection.

Literature: ‘Lobi’ by Daniela Bognolo, Mailand 2007, ill. 53, 54, 56, 58

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