African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Baule
Figure of monkey Amuin Baule, Baoulé (N° 19359)
Ex-collection of French African art.
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This figure of a dog-headed monkey, frequently shown with an offering cup, is distinguished here by its wide, gaping mouth. There are several representations of the same type, with different names depending on how they are used. They were erroneously named Gbékré (mouse) because of "Delafosse's misunderstanding of two cults" (Boyer, "Baulé" 5Continents). Often linked to the Mbra cult of divination and possession, they belong to the group of "force-beings" or amwin , intermediaries between God and men and given to the Baule by their Creator, just like the sacred masks whose wide gaping jaws they share. It is also said to be a minor deity called aboya associated with the Mbra cult, and sometimes a figure associated with the mbotumbo ("baboon") cult of annual agrarian rites. Matt patina, dry, blackish crusty residue. Erosions and cracks.
These carvings were intended to be propitiatory and to serve as a dwelling place for spirits to which offerings were presented and on which libations were made.
True monkey skulls often formed the head of the figure.
The carvings were kept in villages, but the ritual practices took place in the bush and sometimes in the center of the dance circle. Some were never to be seen by women, however, as were some of the masks.
Crusty sacrificial patina, fragments of comforters, drips.
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