BAULE, METAL FIGURE 26, 11.5", $400, SOLD, Ivory Coast
The Baule are one of the Akan peoples. They moved west to the Ivory Coast more than 200 years ago and adopted sculptural and masking traditions from their neighbors, the Guro, Senufo and Yaure peoples.
Baule figures can be among the most elegant and designed pieces in Africa. Many show careful execution of face, coiffure and scarification details, with refined forms but no loss of expressiveness and power. The quiet, dignified figures can embody a nature spirit, asie usu, or serve as a spiritual spouse, blolo bian or blolo bla; either must be placated with care. They functioned as the home of a spirit to whom sacrifices were made.
Most Baule figures are wood, this one is made by the complex traditional lost-wax process, then cast in a copper alloy similar to bronze. The stool is a separate piece.