Baule Waka Sona Male Figure, Côte d'Ivoire #37

$ 1,950.00 $ 975.00

  • Baule Waka Sona Male Figure, Côte d'Ivoire #37
  • Date/Period: Mid-20th century
  • Dimensions: 18.5" height
  • In a sitting position, straight back, this Baule Male Ancestor Figure places a hand on his beautifully braided beard, evoking a mood of quiet consideration and concern, wisdom and intelligence. The intricately executed hairstyle, intense and abundant scarification marks, and artistically rendered knees, upper-arm bracelet and accents on the stool reveal the Baule Concept of Male Beauty, which is constant within Baule Art.
  • About 60 Ethnic Groups populate the Côte d'Ivoire, including the Baule, in the Center Regions, Akans from Ghana known as People of the Savannah practicing hunting and agriculture, as well as the Guro People from whom Baule sculptors borrowed Ritual Cults practices and carved mask styles.
  • Two types of Figures are produced by the Baule in the Ritual Context:
  • The Waka-Sona Statues, "Beings of Wood" in Baule language, represent Spirits of Ancestors. They are part of a type of Statue intended to be used as a Spirit Medium Tool by the Komien Soothsayers. The Komien are believed to be selected by the Asye Usu spirits in order to communicate the Revelations of the Beyond / the Spirit World.
  • The second type of Statues are the "Spouses" of the Beyond, Masculine, the "Blolo Bian or Feminine, the Blolo Bla, which represent the Idealized Sexual Opposite or Spouse.
  • Among the Baule Peoples of Côte d'Ivoire, human experience evolves out of and remains inextricably linked to the Ancestral Spirit World, or Blolo (roughly, "the Village of Truth"), which controls and determines the Fate of the Living. Divination Figures serve as Links to the Spirit World and are a critical element in a Baule Diviner's professional practice. Baule Diviners are individuals who have been selected by Spirits, or Asye Usu, as Mediums through which to communicate important insights into the human condition. The sculptures are often described as the Asye Usu's "STOOL," a figurative resting point for the Spirits. Divination Figures represent Idealized Male or Female Form in their Prime, which are considered by the Asye Usu as Desirable Forms to Inhabit, and so are used to draw the Unruly Spirits out of their home in the bush and into the Village.
  • Further information:
    Vogel, S.M. 1997. Baule: African Art Western Eyes. Yale University Press and The Museum for African Art: New Haven and New York, p. 236.
    LaGamma, A. 2000. Art and Oracle: African Art and Rituals of Divination. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: New York