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Baule Maternity Figure (101)


Baule maternity representing a mother carries a child in the palm of her hands.

Maternity figure, with wood patina of use.

Scarification is present on the back of the body and on the face.

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African tribal art Baule maternity figure from Ivory Coast.

Used as a tool of communication with the spiritual world or Blolo , depicting fertility.  This figurative sculpture of a woman presenting a newborn baby has the features of Baule beauty, such as the elegant hairstyle in braids arranged in a crest and chignons ending in a braid at the nape of the neck.  Scarified motifs in relief run through the face and the protruding round calves, eyelids are closed in meditation in a face with regular features.

These figures received offerings and applications of oil.  Particular areas of brilliance are located in the bust and facial regions, a result of repeated rubbing. This Baule maternity figure has been approved as being authentic with significant signs of tribal use and age.

Two types of statues are produced by the Baule in the ritual context: Waka-Sona statues, “Wooden Being” in Baule, evoking a Assié Oussou,  meaning being of the earth.  They are part of a type of statue intended to be used as a medium by Komien diviners, who are selected by the Asye Usu spirits to communicate revelations from beyond.  The second type of statue are the spouses of the afterlife, masculine, the Blolo Bian and feminine, the Blolo Bia .

There are about sixty ethnic groups in the Côte d’Ivoire, including the Baoulé, in the centre, Akans from Ghana, who come from the Savannah.  They practice hunting and farming and the Gouro from whom they borrowed their cults and masks. The main duty is the lineage, which is the responsibility of an Elder whose functions are political and religious.

Piece accompanied by its certificate of authenticity.

Provenance: Ex Swiss private Collection

Estimated date: Circa 1950

Country: Ivory Coast 

Material: Wood

Height: 51 cm

Width: 9 cm

Weight: 1.500kg

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