Spirit Spouse Sculpture [Object of the Day #55]

August 31, 2012

Bloto Bla Statue
Bloto Bla Statue

The statue represents a Spirit Wife. In Baule culture, both men and women are thought to have spirit spouses, supernatural husbands and wives that must be cherished before accepting a human husband or wife. A Spirit Wife is known as a Bloto Bla and a Spirit Husband is called a Bloto Bain. In order to appease one’s Spirit Spouse, a shrine is built for them in the individual’s personal hut. The statue of the Spirit Spouse may also be carried where ever the person travels.

This Bloto Bla is a Spirit Wife with child. She sits upon a stool and carries her child behind her back.  She was created from a combination of wood, gold, and fiber. Designs on her face are representational of several series of scars.

Penn Museum Object #29-12-68

See this and other objects like it on Penn Museum’s Online Collection Database