Cote d'Ivoire, Baule people

2020.003.018.jpg

Description

Mouse oracle
n.d.
Wood, carved
60 x 20 x 23 1/2" OVERALL
Carved wood "mouse oracle" with a single seated figure positioned on lid. Inside this receptacle, a device composed of sticks records the movements of mice as signs that reveal insights into matters of importance. Mouse divination is probably of Guro origin and is one of several divination techniques used in Baule society; it is practiced in eastern and central Ce d'Ivoire by Agni-speaking peoples, which include the Guro and Yaure. Regional oral traditions recount that in the distant past mice could speak. At that time they lived in the forest with the earth spirits (asye usu) until a spiritual specialist carried them into the village to be kept in captivity. Their natural proximity to the earth's surface and their ability to burrow beneath it permit mice to gain intimate access to the omniscient asye usu and the ancestors, thus enabling them to foretell events.

Date

n.d.

Creator

Cote d'Ivoire, Baule people

Source

Gift of Dr. Fima and Jere Lifshitz

Identifier

2020.003.018

Collection

Citation

Cote d'Ivoire, Baule people, “Cote d'Ivoire, Baule people,” UCSB ADA Museum Omeka, accessed October 4, 2022, http://art-collections.museum.ucsb.edu/items/show/16568.