African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baoulé Mask
Large Baule mask with Asye usu figures (N° 19671)
Ex-collection French African art.
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.This distinctive face of the Baule African masks known as mask-portraits presents on the space formed by the forehead and the temples the signs ngole of the scarifications of the ethnic group. The careful arrangement of the braids forms round shells. At the top, figures Waka-Sona, "being of wood" in baoulé, evoking besieged oussou, geniuses of the earth, are enthroned. The mask, however, has many similarities with those of the neighboring Yaureans.
These portrait masks of the Baule, ndoma , which are part of one of the oldest Baule artistic traditions and frequently represent an idealized character, have the particularity of appearing at the end of entertainment dance ceremonies. The latter are named, according to the regions, bedwo , ngblo , mblo , adjussu , etc....
Each of these masks are distinguished by hairstyles, location and choice of scarification, etc...and appear in a certain order.
Also known as Gbagba , they personify graceful young girls or men whose valour or qualities of integrity are reputed. The new generations are gradually replacing these dances called Gbagba in some villages, keeping most of the old conventions, with the dance Kpan Kpan, whose masks raise societal problems or refer to political projects.
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