Gbekre, Mouse Oracle or Mouse Divination Vessel

2009.05.0004A

Photo of Gbekre, Mouse Oracle or Mouse Divination Vessel

Detailed Images

Basic Information

Artifact Identification Gbekre, Mouse Oracle or Mouse Divination Vessel   (2009.05.0004A)
Classification/
Nomenclature
Communication Artifacts : Ceremonial Artifacts : Religious Objects
Artist/Maker None
Geographic Location Africa, West, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana
Period/Date 1950 - 2004
Culture Baule

Physical Analysis

Dimension 1 (Height) 15.6 cm
Dimension 2 (Diameter) 15.5 cm
Dimension 3 (Diameter) 11 cm
Weight 792 g
Measuring Remarks Second largest measurement diameter of base, including rim. Third measurement diameter of piece’s top opening, including rim.
Materials Plant--Wood, Varnish, Pigment--Dye
Manufacturing Processes Carved, Dyeing, Lacquering, Incising
Munsell Color Information N/A

Research Remarks

Published Description

"Mouse divination session. Onogobo, Aitu Region, 1994. The diviner, Bela Kouassi, has just removed the tortoise-shell tray from the vessel and is interpreting the way the mouse has rearranged the batons attached to it." Vogel, Susan. Baule: African Art/Western Eyes. New Haven: Yale Art Gallery, 1997. p. 270. Cheri Vitez, Assistant Registrar, 8/5/2010

Description N/A
Comparanda

"17. Mouse Oracle (Gbekre) Baule, Cote d'Ivoire Wood, terracotta, leather, beads, metal, cord; H. 26 cm ((10 1/4 in) ca. 1900 Marceau Riviere Collection, Paris." Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art and Oracle: A Scholarly Resource of African and Rituals of Divination, retrieved 8/4/2010 from http://www.metmuseum.org/explore/oracle/figures17.html p. 1. "Mouse divination vessel. Wood, terra cotta, metal and fiber. H: 24.3 cm. Musee de L'Homme, Paris. Collected by Hans Himmelheber in the early 1930s, this unique object, with its pensive little man, has become an icon of Baule art." Vogel, Susan. Baule: African Art/Western Eyes. New Haven: Yale Art Gallery, 1997. p. 268. “Mouse divination vessel. Wood, cloth, leather, and terra cotta (lid). Wood. H: 24 cm. Collection: Jane and Gerald Katcher (above left). Diviners traveling would carry their vessels with them by means of a strap – making these sculptures easily visible to everyone. This is a more typical example than those with figures." Mouse divination vessel. Wood, terra cotta vessel, leather, beads, metal and cord. H: 23 cm. Collection: Marceau Riviere, Paris (left, not exhibited in New Haven). The freestanding figures carved on these vessels are completely atypical-these are virtually the only one I know. They do not seem to serve any symbolic purpose." Mouse divination vessel. Wood, terra cotta and beads, H: 21.5 cm. Musee d’ Ethnographie, Neuchatel (above). While feeding, a field mouse that lives in the vessel displaces special batons which can be interpreted by the diviner. This method of divination is extremely accurate but less explicit than trance divination. (The small dishes that hold rice and serve as lids are upside down on all three vessels)." Vogel, Susan. Baule: African Art/Western Eyes. New Haven: Yale Art Gallery, 1997. p. 271. Cheri Vitez, Assistant Registrar, 8/5/2010

Bibliography

Encyclopedia of African and African-American Religions, Stephen D. Glazier, Editor. New York: Routledge, 2001. p. 121. Himmelheber, Hans and Martin Lippmann, Eberhard Fischer, and Clara Mayer-Himmelheber, Die Kultur der Baule: Fotodokumentation an der Elfenbeinkuste. Zurich: Museum Rietberg, 1997. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art and Oracle: A Scholarly Resource of African and Rituals of Divination, retrieved 8/4/2010 from http://www.metmuseum.org/explore/oracle/figures17.html p. 1-4. Pemberton, John. The Artist’s Eye, the Diviner’s Insight: African Art in the Barry D. Maurer Collection. Amherst: Mead Art Museum, 1998. Vogel, Susan. Baule: African Art/Western Eyes. New Haven: Yale Art Gallery, 1997. p. 268-271. Vogel, Susan and Francine N’ Diaye. African Masterpieces from the Musee de l’Homme New York: Center for African Art and Henry Abrams, 1985. p. 136. Werness, Hope. The Continuum Encyclopedia of Native Art: Worldview, Symbolism, and Culture in Africa, Oceania, and Native North America. New York: Continuum, 2000, p.81. Cheri Vitez, Assistant Registrar, 8/5/2010 Guenneguez, Andre and Afo. Art de la Cote d’Ivoire et de Ses Voisins. Paris: L’Harmattan, n.d. P. 164.

Artifact History

Archaeological Data N/A
Credit Line/Dedication Kieffer-Lopez Collection
Reproduction No
Reproduction Information N/A

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