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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Baule Wooden Comb
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Baule Wooden Comb - CK.0070
Origin: Ivory Coast
Circa: 20th th Century AD
Dimensions: 9" (22.9cm) high x 3" (7.6cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood


Location: United States
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Description
This magnificent comb was made by the Baule tribe of West Africa. Their Ivory Coast homeland lends itself to sedentary agriculturism, so they have been able to build up a considerable political and economic stronghold, which has in turn given rise to a strong ritual and artistic heritage. Their own creation story relates to an ancient migration, in which the queen was forced to sacrifice her son in order to ford a mighty river. So upset was she that all she could say was “baouli” (“the child is dead”), thus giving rise to the tribe’s name.

The sculptures made by the Baule reflect their belief system, and is intimately linked with the duality of the sexes and the civilised/wild character of the village vs. the ‘bush’. Bush spirits and spirit spouses – otherwordly partners that appear in dreams, and who must be appeased – are notable artistic accomplishments of the Baule, in addition to naturalistic and deconstructed zoomorphic figures and masks, which relate to cultic activity and ceremonial celebration of fertility, agriculture and appeasement of ancestors or potentially harmful natural forces
- (CK.0070)

 

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