About the Baule People
“The Baule represent one of the most important tribes of the Ivory Coast. Their name is testimony to their birth – according to legend, Queen Aba Pokou led her people on an exodus towards the gold-mining areas during the 18th century and had to cross a river where she was obliged to sacrifice her son to the river god, thus giving her people the name Bauli, ‘the son is dead’. During the 19th century, the queendom disintegrated due to internal conflicts and by the beginning of the 20th century, when the French colonials arrived, they found only a network of villages, headed by councils of venerated men.
Baule artists produced numerous works of art and Baule carvers are still very active today. With their great sense of stylization and attention to detail, they have produced some of the most elegant objects of all African art. “
A Baule face mask is “characterized by a rounded face and realistic features, pointed chin, T-shaped nose and semi-circular eyes, raised scarification – typical of the Baule tribe – and an elaborate coiffure. They do not appear to have any sacred function and are worn only during festivities related to visits by important dignitaries.”
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.
Dave Dahl—CEO Discover African Art
Keywords: Baule, Ivory Coast, Cote D’Ivoire, Face, Mask