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Magnificent Large Baule Figure
High 76 cm
Provenance: From the Collection of Mr. G. L. of Clinton, Massachusetts.
Magnificent Large Baule Figure, this finely carved stylized male figure has an exceptional and high abstract face with individualized facial features including a T-shaped straight nose, rectangular open mouth, and a square prognathous chin. His finely carved, high vertical crest coiffure has different elements on each cylindrical neck which rests on squared shoulders. The hips and legs are carved in the round with bent knees above flat feet carved in low relief with ankles and toes indicated. His left arm holds an egg. Dark reddish glossy patina.
* Baoulé people
The Baoulé (or Baule, pron. [ba.u.le] in French, [bawle] in the Baoulé language) are an Akan people and one of the largest groups in Côte d’Ivoire. The Baoulé are traditionally farmers who live in the centre of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), in a triangle shaped region (the Baoule “V”) between the rivers Bandama and N’Zi. This area broadly encompasses the regions around the cities of Bouaké and Yamoussoukro. The Baoulé have come to play a relatively important role in the recent history of Côte d’Ivoire : the State’s first President, Félix Houphouët-Boigny, was a Baoulé ; additionally, since the Ivorian cocoa boom of the 1960-70s, the Baoulé have also become one of the most widespread ethnicity throughout the country, especially in the Southern forests (the « Low Coast ») where they are amongst the most numerous planters of cocoa, rubber, and coffee and sometimes seem to outnumber the local native ethnic groups.
Legend goes that in the 17th century the Baoulé left present day Ghana and traveled west into present day Côte d’Ivoire under the lead of the Queen Pokou. According to oral tradition, the Baoulé were forced to leave Ghana when the Ashanti rose to power. While they were fleeing for their lives they came to the Komoe river which they were unable to cross. With their enemies chasing them they began to throw their most prized possessions into the river. It came to the Queen’s attention that their most valuable possession was her son. The Queen realized that she had to sacrifice her son to the river and threw him in. Upon doing so hippopotami rose from the river and allowed them to cross, saving their lives. After crossing, the Queen was so upset about losing her son that all she could say was “baouli,” meaning: the child is dead. From that point on they were known as the Baoulé
* From Wikipedia