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Baule Spirit Woman and Child

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Item 272
6.00 LBS
Calculated at checkout
Maximum Purchase:
1 unit(s)

Product Description

The Baule, pronounced (Bah-oo-lay), represent one of the largest ethnic groups of the Ivory Coast. According to myth after a succession dispute in the mid 18th century, Queen Abla Poku led her followers west to the land of the Senufo and Guro where they came upon the river Comoe. In order to cross she had to sacrifice her own son. Legend has it this sacrifice is the origin of the name Baule which translates to “the child has died.” It is believed that because of the intermingling of the Senufo and Guro, the Baule adopted their art forms and refined them by art traditions brought with them from the Ashanti. The Baule may have existed before the 18th century and the arrival of Abla Poku by a Baule sub group calling themselves the Mamla. Oral traditions, linguistic evidence as well as the distinctiveness of the art forms point to the Mamla having “emerged from the earth” or “descended from heaven on a chair” along with the Baule art forms “brought out of the earth” when they appeared. Whether the origins of the Baule are mythical or indigenous, the people living between the Bandama and Nzi rivers spoke a Baule language and practice a Baule art style. This sculpture is typical of the core Baule style viewed in most figurines and masks associated with beliefs and practices created by the ancestors of the Baule known as the Mamla. Encrusted with sacrificial material, this statue of a mother breast feeding her child has all the markings of Baule art; the downcast eyes, the thin nose and small mouth. The slender head sports a four bun coiffure. Scarifications accent the corners of the eyes, mouth, temples, forehead, long slender neck and back. Her unusual open composition, the energy in which she breasts feeds and holds her baby, her smooth muscles and dynamic posture, all suggest an energetic spirit sitting on an etched Baule stool. Age and use can account for the missing feet and cracks, which does not detract from its beauty or value. This statue is typical of a bush spirit (asye usu) possibly owned by a successful Komien (trance diviner) man or woman, who does divinations and dances while in a trance possessed by an asye usu or a spirit wife owned by a man wanting a wife and child. This selection is over 25 years old.

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Dimensions: 17 inches tall x 4 inches wide x 4 1/4 inches deep.

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