A female blolo bla Baule sculpture
A female blolo bla Baule sculpture, seated on a stool, one hand resting on the knee, the other touching the left breast, a columnar, thick neck supporting a large oval face, a small pointed mouth beneath a slender nose, framed by crescent slit-eyes, scarifications around the navel, neck, breasts, upper arms and on the cheeks, a finely elaborated coiffure with a pigtail on the back.
Another common utterance that one hears often in Baule villages is the question: N ti a stran? “Am I not a person?” Most often, this question -cum-statement is hurled rhetorically as a challenge to someone who has totally failed to take into account another´s presence – to someone who has failed to acknowledge and formally recognized by a proper greeting the company, indeed, the existence of another human being. From the point of view of American society, where greetings are often minimal (“Hi”), or completly nonverbal (upraised eyebrows or a slight movement of the head), how can one begin to understand the complexities and underlying realities of a formal system of greetings such as that of the Baule? Among them, there are greetings that differentiate men from women, old from young, that differ depending on the time of day (morning, noon, afternoon, and evening), that recognize an activity that is underway (Nja mo o, “Men, thank you for the work”), that acknowledge someone´s return from the fields, that remember the previous encounter or exchange (Anuman Kwlao, “Thank you for – the good you did me – yesterday”), that acknowledge the extended family, or that recognize that since the previous encounter a child has been born or a relative has died. The exchange of greetings may sometimes seem formulaic and predictable to the outsider, but any failure to initiate the exchange is perceived as a most profound insult: “Am I not a person?” N ti a stran?”
“The Self and the Other”, Philip L. Ravenhill, Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, Los Angeles, 1994:11.
800 – 1.000,- Euro
Height: 55 cm
Weight: 1,4 kg