Oct 27, 2009

Female Figure from a Pair (asye usu)

Female Figure from a Pair (asye usu)

late 1800s-early 1900s

Part of a set. See all set records

Wood, resin, glass beads, plant fiber, and metal

Overall: 47.7 x 10 x 11 cm (18 3/4 x 3 15/16 x 4 5/16 in.)

Gift of Katherine C. White 1971.297.2


Baule figures carved as pairs usually represent untamed spirits of the wilderness called asye usu. These spirits may intervene in the lives of individuals by taking possession of them. If this possession does not result in madness, it can lead to the human host’s becoming a diviner who can enter into a trance to reveal the causes of ailments and other misfortunes. People who feel their lives are being interrupted by the asye usu commission carvings representing idealized male and female forms whose grace and beauty in both anatomy and adornment will seduce the spirits and compel them to use the sculptures as their temporary homes.

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