Attye Female Figure from Ivory Coast (Lagoon area)
Wood sculpture with cloth and beads from the Lagoon area of the Ivory Coast. Sculptures from this area are rare and difficult to obtain. Attye style is recognized by the elaborate coiffure elegantly raised, muscular legs and arms and the elongation of their body, and elaborate keloid scarification. The female carvings have tiny protruding plugs, which can be twisted out. Patina varies from darker to lighter with traces of white pigment.
The uses of the Attye figures are not clearly known. It seems like these figures had multi-purposes. Their role in the Poro and Lo society is unclear. For some sources Attye figures are most likely the representation of ancestors or the embodied spirit from the other world invoked for they help insure good health, fertility, prosperity, good crops, etc. It is also said that professional healers and diviners use these spirits to ask their assistance when performing their ritual. In the healing and divination process, the roles of these figures were to convey messages to the spirit world. During a consultation to a diviner, the spirit would come out to possess the diviner, causing a trance. The figures help elucidate the mystery and find the solution. Other sources indicate that these figures were occasionally given as prizes to outstanding dancers.
Note: The sculpture leans to one side as a result of uneven feet, but can be brought into balance by placing a thin object underneath the feet.
Measurements: 21" H x 5.5 " W x 5" D
Place of origin: Lagoon area, Ivory Coast, Cote D'Ivoire
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