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Lot: 230

86th Tribal Art Auction

Anthropomorphic bowl-bearing monkey figure "amwin" or "amwin ba"

Côte d'Ivoire, Baule

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Galerie Neander, Heidelberg, Germany (1970's) H: 34.6 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, strongly encrusted blackish brown sacrificial patina, human body and facial features, snout with strong teeth, slightly dam. (mouth), cracks, insect caused missing parts, rep. (base); such figures genereally were called "gbekre". But the Baule word "gbekre" means "mouse" and should be avoided when referencing Baule bowl-bearers. According to newer research "amwin" or "amuin ba" should be used instead. The primary role of an "amwin" was protective, but frequent and appropriate veneration was essential for the force not to turn against its beneficiaries. "Amwin" figures required blood sacrifices, for it was "with blood that fetishes become powerful". The bowl-bearers received animal sacrifices. The choice of animal depended on the nature and importance of the petition and the social position of the petitioner. It could be a chicken, a sheep, a cow, or the best of all a dog. The bowl-bearers were housed in a secret shelter that was built for the cult in a sacred grove in the bush, not too far from the village.

Claessens, Bruno, Baule Monkeys, Brussels 2016