A male Lobi sculpture


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Category: SKU: DSC02655


A male Lobi sculpture from the Some Binlare workshop, highly abstracted in typical style, probably carved by one of his sons, standing on wedge-shaped feet, short legs, an elongated torso, the arms carved close to the body in openwork, the shoulders almost rectangular, the short neck crowned by a spherical “child’s head” (some collectors call this carver/workshop “the carver with the children’s heads”); heavy, hard wood, showing signs of age and use with some cracks on the legs and the head.

Other Sculptures of this workshop, which was founded by Some Binlare, Gongonbili, Agnes Pataux, Coeur blanc – Ventre blanc, 2010, S. 40, Jeschke/van Vliet, Berlin 28.1.2012, Nr. 3; Lobi, Greschik-Catalogue, S. 82

“It has been often noted how Lobi sculptures from the same workshop and district appear on the western market, (and now on the internet ) in waves from Africa and then disappear into storerooms and collections for years or decades. There may have been other examples to arrive in Europe before 2007, from Binlares workshop but the first “wave” appeared in Segovia, Spain, and Berlin, Germany, after that date. Since that time the largest number (around 80 sculptures ) have been photographed and documented by Tribalartforum, this includes some research into this Family workshop and an interview with Lupite Pale (born 1938) about his father Some Binlare, who who died in 1981 and is said to be the originator of this sculpting dynasty.

Since that then Tribalartforum has posted an interesting chart of Sculpture profiles, which is of considerable interest, because it is unusual for such a high number of large sculptures to be collected together in one place long enough for anyone to make comparisons and analysis . There was a small amount of scepticism and suspicion on the arrival of such a large number of these sculptures within the Lobi collecting community habituated to the usual “Classic textbook styles”, but on the other hand ,enthusiasum and interest from people outside that circle. Recently the publication of a book of photos by Agnès Pataux, Coeur blanc – Ventr blanc, fétishes et féticheurs, 2010 including two showing Lobi shrines with Binlare workshop sculptures (page 40,41) in context and the Jeschke/van Vliet-auction of a large sculpture in Berlin has increased a little more attention for what some collectors might consider “Decadent” Lobi sculptures .

The sudden appearance of so many large sculptures around 2007-8 may have surprised some collectors, but it is also an example of how quick to respond Dealers and runners are in Africa to images first posted on the internet. Sure enough the influx into Europe came to an abrupt end soon after this time ,and apart from an occasional small figure around 20cm there has appeared very little since.
An advantage of having direct access to sculptures in a collection over a long period of time is that one can walk around them every day and maybe have moments of pleasurable insights and recognition ,about their origin and style ,that may seem obvious afterwards, but really have taken a long duration of time to mature. The first obvious thing to note about these sculptures is inspite of the great variation in height and apparent ageing between the different sculptures the “unit size” of the head remains fairly constant (about 16 to 18 cm) no matter whether the head is eight heads high or just four heads overall.
The dominant conception of the front elevation of sculptures from this workshop is enclosed and generally rectangular, wide and shallow at the shoulders bordered by vertical arms . The long torso thickeneds out to a swelling at the hips forming a pronounced low centre of gravity. It is important to note that nearly all the articulation of the form is given on the side elevation of these sculptures by a series of elegant decending convex arabesques usually contrasted on the same level, but at the opposite side of the sculpture by straight or convex surfaces. This is brought to an extreme in the carving of the arms that are almost two dimensional in their expression. The formal elements mentioned above including the low center of gravity and the delicate features give these sculptures a distinct feminine or child like expression something not usually associated with Lobi sculpture may be the result of outside influence and also the reason for the local popularity of this workshop which must have been considerable for such a high number of large sculptures to be produced. Some attempts have been made to ascribe to individual carvers certain stylistic traits in the sculptures, it is highly likely that the rhomboid form in the upper torso belongs to some of the earliest sculptures taking other things into consideration, but individual attribution in the face of so little other documentation would be difficult.

At this stage it may be more constructive to see the workshop stylistic tendencies as a whole rather than attribute them to a single personality . It may well be that the family and assistants progressed through several stylistic changes together in an organic way rather as the bottega and workshops in Medieval Europe . In the space of a blog posting it is perhaps more realistic to compare two or three sculptures that stand out from the platform of production of the workshop ,that contrast in style and apparent age, observing general tendancies that fall into place rather than forcing a projected evolutionary development in the sculptures.

600 – 800,- Euro

Height: 109 cm
Weight: 12,8 kg

Additional information

Weight 12.8 kg