A long beard forms the distinctive element of this Baule statue. The meticulously engraved integumentary ornaments of the sculpted figure express the Baule concept of beauty, a constant in traditional African art: numerous checkerboard scarifications and a sophisticated headdress. Brown patina inlaid with ochre, satin finish.
About sixty ethnic groups inhabit the Ivory Coast, including the Baule, in the center, Akans from Ghana, people of the savannah, practicing hunting and agriculture just like the Gouro from whom they borrowed their ritual cults and sculpted masks.
Two types of statues are produced by the Baoulé, Baulé, within the ritual framework: The Waka-Sona statues, "being of wood" in Baoulé, evoke an assié oussou, being of the earth. They are part of a type of statues intended to be used as a medium tool by the komien diviners, the latter being selected by the asye usu spirits in order to communicate revelations from the beyond. The second type of statues are the "spouses" of the afterlife, male, the Blolo bian or female, the blolo bia, which are akin to a quest for wholeness by seeking homage to one's idealized sexual opposite.
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