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Baule Kpan Portrait Mask Cote d'Ivoire African Art

$150.00
Product #: 100856
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Title Baule Kpan Portrait Mask Cote d'Ivoire Africa
Country of Origin Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
People Baule
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions 13.5 inches tall x 7 inches wide x 5 inches deep
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 scuffed and worn patina, general wear; see pictures for details.


Additional Information:  Mask – Kpan or Mblo Portrait mask. Baule Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire). This mask from the Baule people of the Ivory Coast probably falls into a special grouping known as ‘portrait masks’, Kpan or Mblo. They 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 was threaded through the holes at the back of the mask. 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. The hair or headdress on this mask is presented by a high chignon raised from the forehead. The closed eyes and pursed mouth indicate propriety and respect in keeping the eyes downcast with a sense of reserve that a mature woman will cultivate. The slight scarification along the forehead, on the eyes area may be for magical purposes or to submit to the idea of an aesthetic statement. The reserved and enigmatic facial expression, the acute attention to detail and the high quality of carving all indicate that this is a classic example of Baule Art executed after an earlier style.