african masksBaule
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A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

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Baule gold weights are similar to those of the Ashanti, but the Baule also have types of sculpture that none of the other Akan peoples possess: masks (which, like their low-relief doors, seem to indicate Senufo influence) and standing human figures, apparently sometimes used as ancestor figures. 

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A Baule biolo-bian ancestor figure The figures and human masks, the latter reported to be portraits used in commemorating the dead, are elegant--well polished, with elaborate hairdressings and scarification. More roughly finished are the gbekre figures, representing minor divinities in human form with animal heads. 

Djimini heddle pulley Masks are made also to represent the spirits of the bush: antelope, bush cow, elephant, monkey, and leopard. Boxes for the mouse oracle (in which sticks are disturbed by a live mouse, to give the augury) are unique to the Baule, whose carvers also produce heddle pulleys, combs, hairpins, and gong mallets.

Related tribes: Djimini, Senufo, Guro

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west africa slave trade
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The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

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