Vintage Baule Mask
Baule mblo mask, early 20th century, Ivory Coast.
Baule masks correspond to several types of dances: the Gba Gba, the Bonu Amuen, the Mblo, and the Goli. They never represent ancestors, and are always worn by men.
In Baule communities, Mblo performances feature masked dancers who impersonate familiar subjects, ranging from animals to human caricatures. Mblo masks are one of the oldest of Baule art forms. These refined human face masks are usually portraits of particular known individuals.
Mblo masks embody the core Baule sculpture style. Lustrous curving surfaces, suggesting clean, healthy, well-fed skin, are set off by delicately textured zones representing coiffures, scarifications, and other ornaments. The idealized faces are introspective, with high foreheads and large, downcast eyes. Ornaments above the face – birds, combs, horns, faces, and other decorative motifs – are chosen for their beauty, and have no iconographic significance.
Sourced by NYC-based vintage design purveyors, Form Atelier.
- 14"H x 8.5"W x 3.5"D
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