The 250,000 Lobi are divided among
Ghana, Ivory Coast & Burkina Faso.
Each household leader or Cuor is
subordinate to a thila, an invisible
protective spirit who communicates
through the intermediary of diviners.
It is the thila who dictates taboos
& who requires the creation of a
new wooden figure for the village or
household shrine. Lobi sculpture
was only discovered in the 1950's.
The Lobi do not use masks but
create figures called bateba & heads
sculpted on top of a post planted in
the ground. These figures, are beings
that are somewhere between spirits
& people & may represent the dead
or bush spirits. Heads surround the
shrines of sacred huts & the bateba
belongs to the thila & carries out their
orders to defend the territory against
evil & to protect their owners from
harm. Ex James Schmidt Collection
6.5"H x 2"W x 1.5"D