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Africa Direct

Yaure Baule Portrait Mask Mblo Ivory Coast African Art

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $98.00 Regular Price $245.00
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Title Yaure Baule Portrait Mask Mblo Ivory Coast African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Cote D'Ivoire
People Yaure, Baule
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age Mid 20th Century
Height (in) 17
Width (in) 8.25
Depth (in) 7
Dimensions Height: 17 Inches
Width: 8.25 Inches
Depth: 7 Inches
Overall Condition Poor. 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 Chipped, cracked, od arrested bug damage, repaired back and worn patina; see pictures for details

Additional Information: This mask likely comes from either the Baule or the Yaure people of the Ivory Coast and 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