Lobi figures are the enigmatic, brooding sculpture that protect the Lobi
people of Burkina Faso. Ranging in size from 7 - 47" high, most are
frontal, symmetrical and timeless sentinels expressing the traditional beliefs
of the Lobi. Several depart from the norm with animated gestures, asymmetry
or a great degree of symbolic abstraction. Heads were used similarly
to the figures.
The figures or heads were placed on family altars in the thilda, a small sacristy or room in each dwelling. Each figure or head was not a representation but an actual spirit, or tibil thil. It protected the family and home from illness and other misfortunes. The spirit could also be used for divination; it could demand offerings and additions of other figures. The accumulation of statues on a family altar gave social status and were passed on from father to son.
Despite their traditional form and appearance, the heads below show no evidence of age or use and were probably made to be sold.
GO TO LOBI HEADS ARCHIVES PAGE (ALL SOLD)
GO TO LOBI ART PAGE