A Baule monkey of the Tiébissou region, close to the Bouflé district. between Yamoussoukro and Bouaké, different than other Baule monkeys this rare exemplare is holding an egg in its left hand and on the otherside – the right hand – is touching the abdomen, the egg is fixed by raffia string to the figure and has a different encrusted sacrification patina than the other parts of the figure. Firtst part 20th century, probably one of the oldest Baule monkeys we have collected.
“The Baule have monkey figures commonly used for the “Mbra” cult that more or less resemble each other. Endowed with prognathic jaw and sharp teeth and a granular patina resulting from sacrifices, the monkey holds a bowl or a pestle in its paws that was used to hold an egg. Sources differ on its role or function: some say it intervenes in the ritual of divination, others that it is a protection against sorcerers, or a protective divinity of agrarian rites, or a bush spirit. Owned only by trance diviners and certain families, the figure resides hidden outside under a shelter. The sculpture is said to feed on sacrifices brought from the bush and poured all over the figure, leaving it filthy and encrusted.”
Sources: A History of Art in Africa and Africa and Africa – The Art of A Continent.
“Baule Monkeys are powerful objects, which are forbidden to be seen in public display. Monkey figures share stylistic features with the mens´s sacred masks, and have some of the qualities of secrecy and danger to women. They combine animal and human traits in such way that it is nearly impossible to separate them, and they have the prominent teeth and boxy muzzle typical of the masks. Both also receive sacrifical offerings directly on the sculpture, and are associated with the bush. Mbra monkey figures, for example are kept in the village, but “fed” with sacrifices in the bush.”
Susan Vogel, 1997:238.
1.600 – 2.000,- Euro
Height: 52 cm
Weight: 3,2 kg