Baule Mice Oracle



Baule Mice Oracle

P R O V E N A N C E: Important old Dutch private collection

High 29 cm, wide 23 cm.

Early 20th century,

Baule tribe, Ivory Coast

Baule Mice Oracle. This was used for predictions and stored by a soothsayer. The Oracle is divided into two levels by an intermediate bottom in which an opening is drilled. When someone visited the soothsayer for advice, he locked in the lower part of the Oracle a few fasting mice. Moreover, he placed the shell of a turtle with some millet and ten sticks. When  eating the millet the mice moved the sticks, the soothsayer provided his answer based on the new location of the elements. The Baule thought the mice could communicate with the spirit of the earth and the ancestors and therefore knew the future. Men know only two oracles with mice on earth. This object is considered one of the most striking of the visual  Baule art.

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