African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baoule mask
Large Baule mask with female figure (N° 20655)
This distinctive face of the Baule African masks known as portrait masks, here a "senior" mask named Kpan topped by a statuette, shows the ngole signs of the ethnic scarifications, eyelids highlighted with kaolin, rounded lips. The careful arrangement of braids forms round shells.
Carved in dense wood, this piece of tribal art has a dark glossy patina.
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. These are named, depending on the region, bedwo , ngblo , mblo , adjussu , etc....
Each of these masks are distinguished by hairstyles, location and choice of scarification, etc...and appear in a set order.
Also called Gbagba , they personify graceful young girls or men whose valor or qualities of integrity are renowned. The new generations are gradually replacing these dances Mblo called Gbagba in some villages, retaining most of the old conventions, with the Kpan Kpan dance, whose masks raise societal issues or refer to political projects.
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