eyebrows and eyes nearly closed, these features of Baule are
critical for it is by looking at the gaze of the mask that one can
perceive it as someone with a presence. As is the case with the sayings,
eyes are wide open"
eyes have finally opened".
open eyes signals consciousness.
"a sign of respect. In African culture when a youth or
subordinate appear in front of an elder, king or wise man, he/she
will initially look downward to show respect.
portrait mask details the physical facial features namely eyes,
eyebrows, nose, mouth and eyes. In
addition, the coiffure, beard, and facial scarification compliment the
physical beauty. The scars found around the eyes and mouth indicates
human scarification during rites of passage into adulthood. The
beard Indicates that the person is an elder, someone who has created a
family, lived a full life and one who deserves respect that comes with
age and wisdom.
attributes above allow us to distinguish to some degree baule masks from
other African masks, which may have adopted similar styles. Baule
people create art in various media, including wooden sculpture, gold and
brass casting similar to the neighboring Asante. Mask and figure carving
have also been greatly influenced by the Senufo and Guro tribes.
Religion includes both ancestor worship
and hierarchy of nature gods. Nature spirits and spirit spouses are
often represented in sculpture. The creator god is Alouroua, who is
never physically represented.
Baule has a highly centralized government with a king or chief at the
top who inherits his position along matrilineal lines. There are various
sub chiefs in charge of his local populations, and all the chiefs rely
on political advisors who help in the decision making process. The Goli
association is the primary mask association, which provides social order
among the Baule.
Baule belong to the Akan peoples that inhabit Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.
Three hundred years ago the Baule people migrated westward from Ghana
when the Asante rose to power.
Baule grow yams and some maize as primary crops. They are also exporters
of cocoa and kola nuts, which are grown on local plantations using large
numbers of exploited migrant laborers, most from Burkina Faso. Many
locally grown crops were introduced from the Americas during the
Atlantic slave trade. These include maize, manioc, peppers, peanuts,
tomatoes, squash, and sweet potatoes. They also raise farm animals
including sheep, goats, chickens, and dogs. Markets, which are primarily
run by women, take place every four days and are the center of the local
economy. Local produce and craft items are sold alongside imported goods
from all over the world.