Lobi Bateba Figure_SOLD

 A fine Lobi Bateba (figure)

A unusual highly abstract standing female figure with bent knees and pouting lips.

Lobi figures were made for a variety of  mainly apotropaic purposes and were made by individuals rather than a special groups of carvers

which gives the corpus of figures a large variety of variations in style and form


Height 38cm

Ex UK Collection

Period: Early 20th century


Lobi figures are called bateba , and serve as intermediaries between protective spirits, Thila, and men. The bateba belong to Thil and can carry out their orders, holding out an arm to prevent the entrance of evil into the household, or flying through the night to warn of danger. “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). Meyer states clearly that in Wourbira, where he carried out most of his research, bateba do not represent ancestors, but he also noted that, according to other scholars, around Kampti, they can represent “returned people” who died several generations back. I myself have found that, in the Gaoua area, northeast of Kampti, bateba are always associated with ancestral spirits. It seems quite clear the traditions of meaning vary considerably throughout Lobi country, and that it is impossible to generalize. However, whether the spirits in question are ancestral or not, it appears generally to be true that their function is to protect the owners from harm.

– Professor Christopher D. Roy, School of Art and Art History, University of Iowa