Female Figure (blolo bla)

African, Baule peoples, Cote d'Ivoire
20th century, 1950–75
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Ivory Coast


Overall: 39 x 10 x 11.5 cm (15 3/8 x 3 15/16 x 4 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art



Baule sculptures have long been favorites among collectors. Their relatively naturalistic proportions, symmetry, refined surfaces, and quiet resolve appealed to Europeans and Americans. These figures give visible form to either nature spirits or otherworldly men and women (blolo bla) who affect peoples’ lives in both benevolent and negative ways. Each Baule person has a mate of the opposite sex in the otherworld and cares for its sculptural manifestation. Judging by style and apparel, this female figure may date to the 1940s.


1975, sold by Mr. Sillah (or Silla; dealer), Cambridge, MA, to Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart