Exhibitions/ Art Object

Spirit Wife (Blolo Bla)

Geography:
Côte d'Ivoire
Culture:
Baule peoples
Medium:
Wood
Dimensions:
Overall: 11 1/4 x 2 x 2 1/4 in. (28.58 x 5.08 x 5.72 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
Not on view
This figure, purchased by John Quinn for $100 from De Zayas in 1916, was one of the works featured on the opening plate of Charles Sheeler’s album documenting Quinn’s collection. Its glowing surface and the sense of tension it exudes epitomize Baule preferences for vitality in sculpture and matches the Western taste in African art that predominated during the period. Figures such as this one, possibly a "spirit wife," were commissioned for individuals with persistent afflictions during consultation with a diviner. These otherworldly spouses were highly personal objects, kept privately and cared for by their owners.
Paul Guillaume, Paris, before 1916; Marius de Zayas, New York, 1916; John Quinn, New York, 1916; Arts Club of Chicago, 1926, acquired as a gift for the Field Museum, Chicago