This mask was created in the Baule or Yaure style from Ivory Coast. The mask features an elegant face with a superstructure featuring a protruding round face. It measures 20.5 inches tall and weighs 4 pounds. There is some damage to the back of the mask, and scrapes and scuffs throughout – please inspect photos. Stand not included.
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Damage to back of mask. Wear and tear throughout.
About the Baule People
The Baule are originally part of a breakaway group of the Akan people from Ghana. In the 17th century, Queen Abla Pokou led a group on an exodus away from the main Ashanti Confederacy after a war broke out due to disagreements among the factions. Pokou realized that she and her followers may be in harms way, so she took her people and headed westward. Legend says the group came upon the Comoé River, with its dangerous waters and needed a way to safely cross. With the enemy gaining on them, Queen Pokou asked a diviner for advice. The diviner, after much thought, told her the gods required a sacrifice. Everyone began throwing their most prized possessions into the river; gold, ivory, cattle, everything they owned, hoping to appease the gods. The diviner shook his head and said that our sons are our most prized possessions. Pokou, knowing that her duty as queen was more important than that of a mother, decided then to sacrifice her only son, throwing him into the water and calling out “Ba ouli”, translated to “the child is dead”, giving them the name Baule. After the sacrifice was made, hippopotamuses came up from the river and formed a bridge allowing the queen and her people to cross.
The Baule settled in what is now known as Côte d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast. They began defeating current inhabitants of the area and quickly became the middle man post for North and South trading routes. Towns and villages sprouted up with each being independent from one another, making their own decisions with the primacy of a council of elders. Smaller communities were usually governed by a village-chief whereas large villages were ruled by a king or queen. Considered an egalitarian society, everyone is equal and has a say in the overall agenda of the people, including slaves...
Read more about the Baule here.
About the Yaure People
“The Yaure people, 20,000 in total, settled in the territory between the Baule to the west, the Guro to the east and Lake Kossou to the north. They are divided into three main groups living in approximately twenty villages by a council of elders, leads each village. Their language, culture, religion and art are influenced by their powerful neighbors, the Baule and the Guro. Nevertheless, they possess a strong sense of identity and have evolved a characteristic and refined art.
The Yaure adorn a variety of everyday objects with figurative representations, but it is their masks that reveal their artistic abilities.”
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.