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Dimensions: L:18.1in W:17.7in D:8.3in
Baule people create masks that depict various animals found in the local environment, including antelopes, buffalos, monkeys, and birds. The design of these masks often combines realistic and abstract elements. While some masks strive to accurately represent specific animal features, others incorporate stylized or geometric patterns, reflecting the artistic creativity of the carvers. The masks may be painted with natural pigments or adorned with additional materials such as cowrie shells, beads, feathers, or cloth to enhance their visual impact. They are typically carved from wood and can feature elaborate details such as horns, ears, beaks, or other characteristic features of the animal being represented. The Baule people believe that these masks possess spiritual power and serve as a means of communication with the spirit world. Animal masks are used in various ceremonies, rituals, and social gatherings, including agricultural festivals, funerals, and masquerade performances. They play a vital role in invoking ancestral spirits, promoting harmony, and celebrating the connection between the human and spirit realms.
About the Tribe
Baule or Baoule people are found in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) between the Comoé and Bandama rivers. The Baule belong to the Akan peoples and one of the largest groups in Côte d'Ivoire who historically migrated from Ghana. They played a central role in twentieth-century history of the country. They waged the longest war of resistance to French colonization of any West African people, and maintained their traditional objects and beliefs longer than many groups in such constant contact with European administrators, traders, and missionaries.
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