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Baule Portrait Mask Mblo Ivory Coast African Art

Regular Price: $265.00

Special Price: $145.00

Product #: 109110
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Title Baule Portrait Mask Mblo Ivory Coast African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Cote D'Ivoire
People Baule
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th Century
Dimensions Height: 14 Inches
Width: 6.5 Inches
Overall Condition good
Damage/Repair some chipped pigment, scratches, dirt and general wear


Additional Information:  This mask from the Baule people of the Ivory Coast probably falls into a special grouping known as ‘portrait masks’. These masks are said to portray an honored person of the village who is celebrated during a ceremonial dance known as “Mblo”. It is an aesthetic performance in which this beautifully carved mask would be worn with a multicolored costume and danced in the most graceful manner by either the person it represents or a relative. The costume would have been attached to the mask by cords that were threaded through the holes in the back of the mask.


The Baule portrait masks dance reflects feminine virtues including graceful movements and elegant dancing steps and celebrates her beauty. These masks are danced to entertain during days that the Baule do not work and they will also appear to honor important visitors to the village. This classic mask recalls the artistry of the Baule artists of the past. The refined and finally carved face may be similar to the person for whom the mask was originally carved to represent.


Recommended Reading:

- P. L. Ravenhill, Baule Statuary Art: Meaning and Modernization, Institute for the Study of Human Issues, Working Paper 5 (Philadelphia, 1980)


- P. L. Ravenhill, Dreams and Reverie. Images of Otherworld Mates Among the Baule, West Africa, Smithsonian Institution Press.Washington. London, 1996

- S. M. Vogel, Beauty in the Eyes of the Baule: Aesthetics and Cultural Values, Institute for the Study of Human Issues, Working Paper 6 (Philadelphia,1980)

- S. M. Vogel,  Baule, African Art Western Eyes.Yale University Press. New Haven. London,  1997