African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baule mask
Baule, Baoulé animal mask (N° 20203)
A network of parallel hatching and ornamental motifs decorates this heavy animal tribal mask. It is distinguished by its conical and protruding pupils. Its long twisted sculpted horns, in African art, evoke aggressiveness and destructive power. As a sacrificial victim for offerings and a metaphor for pugnacity, the Baule ram mask is an allegory of strength. This mask appeared in the company of human masks during various ceremonies, including funerals or nowadays during visits by distinguished guests.
Dense wood, satin black patina.
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According to Baule mythology, a royal ancestor had to sacrifice his son to cross a river. This event is the origin of the name of the Baoulé, Bauli, "the son died". They represent the major part of the population of Côte d'Ivoire. In Côte d'Ivoire, the objects that were a priori the most ordinary had to meet aesthetic criteria. Furniture, ornaments, utensils, fabrics, are pretext for a refined artistic expression on the part of the sculptors. The latter, mainly farmers, carry out this activity in addition. Some of them also produce pieces for neighboring ethnic groups. The creative talent remains however linked to the occult power of the craftsman, the ritual requirements surrounding the work of the wood.
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