African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baule mask
Baule "moon" mask (N° 21447)
Appearing today at celebrations associated with the Gbagba dance, this African mask incorporates the set of masks associated with natural phenomena, such as the setting sun, rainbow, and moon, and "warms up" the scene before the appearance of larger masks.
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This circular mask with a lacy border shows a serene face wearing a three-lobed headdress incised with decorative motifs. The forehead, the seat of intelligence and wisdom, is highlighted. The half-closed eyes reinforce the interiority of the expression.
Smooth patina, satin, dark red.
The African art of the Baule, an Akan group established in the southeast of the Ivory Coast, includes a wide range of masks renowned for their quality, finesse and symmetry. On the one hand, these African masks transposing the main features of the face of a beautiful young girl or a remarkable man, "portrait masks", which were exhibited during particularly theatrical events where women played an important role, and on the other hand, masks of conjuration and initiation, which were used during ceremonies that were forbidden to them. Sacred masks, they could put their life in danger, or at the most their fertility.
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