Wood and organic materials
Overall: 63.6 cm (25 1/16 in.)
Gift in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph M. Coe from various donors 1967.152
Historically, figures like this baàthíl were associated with harmful spirits. Less common nowadays, they are used for different reasons, like to relieve suffering from malnutrition.
This headpost (baàthíl) was likely a temporary sanctuary for khélé, a harmful spirit released after killing a person or dangerous animal. Around 1900, members of the Milkuùr religious association used baàthíla to counteract khélé. While the head resembles that of a teenage girl with pierced upper lip and earlobes, the roughly hewn, pole-like bottom suggests otherwise. Buried in an altar, devotees ritually applied materials that darkened the exposed head. When the owner died, the khélé left the sculpture; no longer sacred, it was buried. Milkuùr’s strict rules ensure these objects are made from the appropriate wood and that artists’ names remain secret.
The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email email@example.com.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.