For additional detail, click on any photo below to see the higher resolution version of the image.
Lobi thilkotina figure, Burkina Faso
23" tall
wood, pigment
mid 20th century


$2000

In my opinion this is a very exceptional Lobi figure. At nearly 2 1/2 feet (76cm) it towers above most of the Lobi
figures in my collection.

One thing that isn't apparently noticeable when you look at the photos of the figure is the movement it has. The
left shoulder of the figure is carved sitting back farther than the shoulder on the right which causes the upper torso
of the figure to point slightly left while the head points slightly right. There is a wonderful profile to the face and to
the figure as a whole. The elongated arms pressed up against the body are a nice contrast to the curves found
throughout the rest of the figure. I enjoy viewing the figure in the light, but when it is slightly dark in the room the
figure comes to life in a much different way.

“According to Gottschalk, ethnologists agree that within Lobi statuary figures of approximately 15 to 45 cm have a
protective function while smaller figures of 4 or 9 cm are generally used for divination. The larger figures are
attached to language, initiation rituals and social life. This large statuary, which is comparatively rare, personifies
the power of ancestral founders of villages or the great healers of a bygone era.

Bagnolo (2007: 52-53) states that only the masters of sculpture - the
thiteldara kotina-are authorized to carve
these effigies of ancestors, called
thilkotina. These works thus reflects the quintessence of the "archetypal style"
specific to each Lobi cultural group, just like the individual talent of their authors."
For additional detail, click on any photo below to see the higher resolution version of the image.