Baule People, Côte d'Ivoire: Mbra Cult Monkey/Baboon Mask, c.1900. The abstracted facial features are smooth and patinated, with evidence of libations; the open mouth reveals large incisors. The mask comes with a custom-made wood-and-steel display stand.
Monkey masks and other representations of monkeys are intimately associated with the Baule. Their carving is among the most refined and restrained in Africa, and the simplicity and refined rendering of this mask is a fine example of their best craft.
Monkey masks are rare among the Baule, whose Mbra cult includes the creation and veneration of many simian sculptures. According to the Baule, monkeys are the link between civilized world of the village and the dangerous sphere of the wild bush.
|13H x 7W x 5.5D; 19H on stand. (inches)