Carved polychrome wood, pigments
Early 20th century
Height: 15 ¾ in. (40 cm)
Ex collection Emerson and Dina Woelffer, Los Angeles
Ex Galerie Ratton, Paris
Publication: Byrnes, The artist as collector,
Newport Beach, Newport Harbor Art Museum, 1975, p. 50.
According to Susan Vogel in Baule, African Art, Western Eyes, 1997, these masks appeared rarely and briefly to preserve their beauty. They are known as alie kora, meaning « the meal is burning ». Indeed, when masked dancers appeared at the end of the day, women would run out to admire them, forgetting about the food they were cooking.
This mask calls to mind an ideal image « which follows the canons of human beauty among the Baule, both from an aesthetic and a moral point of view » (Baule: Visions of Africa Series, Boyer, 2008, p. 70).
It perfectly combines elegance and sophistication with an intense power of evocation.