Bocio, Fon, Republic of Benin (Dahomey)

These carved wooden figures known as Bocio (bow-chee-aw), were traditionally created among the Fon People by blacksmith. They were made in secrecy so that only the creator and owner know the composition and purpose of the figure, but are known to usually contain powerful sacrificial materials such as animal bones and blood. They are bodily surrogates for their owners and most are created primarily as a proactive means of defense; when activated through ritual sacrificial offering which is rubbed on as a patina, they act as a decoy to deflect harm from the owner. As with these figures, the patina may become so think that it becomes difficult to determine the carved wooden features.

Wood, empowering substances, & bone, 12.5” h.

Gift of Lee and Rada Bronson, 2001 LB 2

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