Baule Twin Mask

Baule Twin Mask


This Baule mask comes from the Côte d'Ivoire in West Africa. The name Baule comes from the word baouli, which means “the child has died.” This refers to a legend that says that in the eighteenth century, Baule Queen Abla Poku sacrificed her son while leading her people across a river to the western shores of Africa. The Baule are now the largest ethnic group in the Côte d'Ivoire, and are credited with resisting French colonization longer than any other West African peoples, as well as maintaining their traditions and customs while exposed to European culture. 

The Baule are egalitarian and agriculturalists. They produce a number of crops, including maize, yams, coffee, cocoa, and kola nuts, and also procure fish and game. They are largely a matrilineal society, though paternity is recognized and is believed to pass down certain spiritual and personal qualities. They are spiritual people who hold their ancestors in high regard, but never depict them in masks. 

Baule masks are only worn by men, and are often used in dances or skits. Double masks, like this one, refer to either the marriage of the sun and moon, or twins, which are a sign of good luck. The masks are usually based on known individuals, rather than spirits or ancestors. Baule sculptors choose their profession rather than being born into it, so often pieces are commissioned and made to resemble living people.    

Stand included.

10" x 7.5"