Ivory Coast Baoule Mask
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The Baoule ethnic group currently lives in central and eastern Ivory Coast. The Baoules arrived from Ghana in the first third of the 18th century. In Ghana, they had learned to dominate, like the Ashanti, the handling of metal, and in their new location they had to learn from the Gouro to work wood. The combination of their old skill with the new learning has resulted in a technically superior art, and a balanced aesthetic. One example, these Kple-kple masks: the face refers to the sun, and its rays are represented by painted triangles. Buffalo horns are a symbol of fertility. The soft patina used indicates that the search for beauty is one of the main characteristics of Baoulé art. These masks are used in rites relating to agriculture, fertility and also in funeral ceremonies. The Baoule do not have initiation rites.
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