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Do you believe there is an alternate world running parallel to the world of the living? If you do, then you have something in common with the Baule (pronounced bow-lay) people in the Ivory Coast, West Africa. The Baule call this world the blolo, or otherworld. It is the spirit world, the place where the deceased reside and the point of origin for newborns. The Baule also believe each of us has a mate in the blolo, and this mate can be enlisted to help us solve problems in our world, the world of the living. "Spirit Spouses - Statues of Other World Mates from the Baule People" is an online art exhibition featuring authentic African art - effigies of Baule spirit mates. The exhibition is sponsored by Primitive, a well known Chicago gallery with twenty three years of experience in dealing with many types of authentic, collectible ethnographic (ethnic) art and furnishings. Although the statues may be seen in-person at Primitive's flagship store, located at 130 N. Jefferson in downtown Chicago, the online art exhibition represents a way for the company to bring this important collection directly to guests and clients who are located all over the world and cannot visit in-person in a timely manner.
Baule men and women typically learn about the existence of their Spirit Spouse when they encounter a real life problem such as infertility, illness, incompatibility in a real life relationship, or even difficulty in finding a real life mate. When this occurs, a diviner may determine the problem can be "cured" by marriage to a Spirit Spouse, in which case a representation of the spouse is carved. Each sculpted Spirit Spouse has a distinctive personality known to its physical mate. Once the marriage between the physical mate and the Spirit Spouse takes place it becomes the physical mate's obligation to give offerings to the Spirit Spouse on a regular basis. In turn, it becomes the obligation of the Spirit Spouse to cure whatever problem caused the creation of the marriage in the first place.
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