Lot: 150

Soul container figure "iran otibago"

Guinea-Bissau, Bissagos Islands, Bidjogo

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Private Collection H: 14.8 inch 5000 EUR / 10000 EUR

wood, encrusted patina, red pigment, These figures serve as homes for the souls of revered deceased. They provide the living with a means of cummunicating with the ancestors as well as with the surpeme deity ("orrebuco-ocoto"). An "iran otibago" can belong to an individual or to an entire village. In either instance it is given offerings and appealed to for a wide range of personal and communal concerns. The "iran" were called in case of illness, civil disputes, to investigate and punish witchcraft or to confirm a village chief. It is reported that before each arable activity animal sacrifices were offered to the "iran" and after the harvest a part of the yield had to be sacrificed to him. "Iran otibago" figures are stored in a traditional "candjamo" shrine maintained by a female priest ("oquinca").


Savary, Claude, Arts africains dans les collections privées neuchâteloises, Fondation Le Grand-Cachot-De-Vent 1985, cat. 30 Exhibited:

Neuchâtel, Switzerland: "Arts africains dans les collections privées neuchâteloises", Fondation Le Grand-Cachot-De-Vent, 8 June-11 August, 1985

ADHRC: 0056632