Baule Mouse oracle from Ivory Coast with butterfly and fish carvings; measures approximately 13" tall; please consult photographs for condition.
Among the Guro, Baule, and Yaure peoples of the Ivory Coast mouse divination is widely used in consultations regarding concerns ranging from serious illness to establishing the time and scale of sacrifices, from personal misfortune to public conflict. Within the container there are upper and lower chambers with a hole between the two. At the time of a consultation, a mouse is placed in the lower chamber. In the upper chamber an inverted tortise shell or small rectangular metal plate is placed with bits of rice chaff on it. Ten narrow metal strips are attached at one end of the shell or plate lying in a parallel pattern. A lid, placed over the container, is removed after a minute or two and the wunnzueyifwe (diviner) "reads" the rearrangement by the mouse of the metal strips.