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Baule Mbra Monkey Figure Cote d'Ivoire African Art 27 Inch

Regular Price: $485.00

Special Price: $275.00

Product #: 122774
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Title Baule Mbra Monkey Figure Cote d'Ivoire African Art 27 Inch
Type of Object Carving, figure, statue
Country of Origin Cote d'Ivoire
People Baule
Materials Wood
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Dimensions Height: 27 Inches
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair Crack in base, old arrested bug damage

A fine example, VERY heavy wood.


Additional Information:  

Monkey, known as Mbra and sometimes referred to as Gbekre by the Baule, are considered as power figures used in many rituals. One ritual is a trance divination, where the spirit of Mbra assists the diviner in his effort to convey messages from the spirits of other world to the living, in order to solve a problem during a consultation. This is the one rare occasion where an Mbra can be seen to everybody.

When not in use, the Mbra would be displayed on a shrine. Monkey figures are considered too powerful for women to see, and are kept hidden in the bush where they are fed with sacrificial offerings. The encrusted patina on this figure is from sacrificial offerings and ritual libations poured over the figure.


The bowl was used as a container for magic elements. Some large, even sinister-looking, full-sized versions are thought to be carved by blacksmiths and used as guardians of special places or even entire villages. They usually have bared teeth and are also heavily encrusted with sacrificial offerings.


Recommended Reading:

P. L. Ravenhill: Baule Statuary Art: Meaning and Modernization, Institute for the Study of Human Issues, Working Paper 5 (Philadelphia, 1980)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. (1997)