Very Large Baule Kplekple Goli African Mask with Curved Horns 37″- Ivory Coast

$575.00 $431.25

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Type of Object

Face Mask



Country of Origin

Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire)

Approximate Age










Overall Condition

Multiple repairs to right horn, chipping on both horns, some cracking throughout

Tribe Information

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.


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Additional Information

About the Kplekple Mask

The Kplekple mask is used in an annual festival known as Goli. The whole village will normally take part in the festivities. The kplekple mask would be the first to make an appearance and is normally worn by children. The red mask known as kplekple bla is the female version whereas the black mask known as kplekple yasua is the male version. They are regarded as lighthearted, playful masks that chase after children during the day and only appear during the night for funerals when the goli becomes sacred.