Baule Portrait Mask

  • Product Code: BAU5-180
  • Dimensions: 4" x 20" x 6"
  • Availability: In Stock
  • USD $


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The Baule are one of the most important tribes of the Ivory Coast (Cote d'Ivoire). Their name is testimony to their birth. According to legend, Queen Aba Pokou led her people on an exodus toward the gold-mining areas during the 18th century and had to cross a river where she was obliged to sacrifice her son to the river god, thus giving her people the name Bauli, "the son is dead". Baule artists produced numerous works of art and Baule carvers are still very active today. With their great sense of stylization and attention to detail, they have produced some of the most elegant objects of all African art. The Baule people use three major types of masks: the first is a helmet mask in the shape of a buffalo head, the second type includes masks related to the Goli festival, and the third type, of which this is an example, represents a human face with rounded, fairly realistic features. The mask has other common Baule characteristics, including the raised facial scarifications typical of the Baule tribe, as well as the elaborate coiffure, the t-shaped nose, and the pointed chin. There are three raised scarifications on each side of the face, which is feminine. Four scarifications indicates the masculine. -Bacquart

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