Tribe of the Week: The Baule People & Blolo Mates

October 19, 2017 By

Our new Baule Tribe page is up on our site! Check it out to learn more about the fascinating history behind this tribe.

A little bit about the Baule tribe–they reside in West Africa along the Ivory Coast. The Baule have a long history of resisting French colonials who invaded their territory throughout the 19th century. Longer than any other African culture who were exposed to the Europeans, the Baule maintained their traditions, including their matriarchal society and spiritual beliefs.

The spirit world plays a big role in the culture of the Baule people. They believe in an alternate realm that runs parallel to the world of the living. This world is called the blolo and inhabits the spirits of newborns and the deceased.

The blolo greatly informs the art of the Baule people. They believe that everyone has a spouse in another world, or manifested in their dreams, that has good or bad influence on the present. They carve these beautiful sculptures representing these other halves. The more time that is spent in the intricacies of carving a piece, the more valuable it is to its owner. The spirit husband is called Blolo Bian and the spirit wife is called Blolo Bla.

Above are some of the Blolo spirit mate statues we have in our collection. They are a gorgeous representation of their otherworldly mates that guide them through the Baule people’s lives.

To also see some beautiful imagery of the Baule people, head over to our Pinterest board: The Baule People.