African Goli Mask: Abstraction, humor and fertility

Baule Goli mask

The Baule tribe of the Akan people of The Ivory Coast and Ghana resisted French colonization longer than any other West African people.  As a consequence, their traditions and rituals to this day are very strong.

This large wooden Goli mask of the Baule is a wonderful example of abstraction in African art.  The exaggerated roundness of the face symbolizes the sun, and the circle of horns atop symbolize the water buffalo.  The mask is primarily worn to celebrate the fertility of the agricultural harvest.

The stylized mouth and eyes and the ridiculous size and roundness of the face gives a playful if not humorous effect.  In some traditions the Kple Kple dancers (young males) would run around at the harvest celebration in this mask teasing the young women…perhaps another play on the theme of fertility.

This large (24″ tallldimentions) Goli mask sells for $800 at the Hauser Gallery.

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About hausergallery

Hauser Gallery is an art gallery featuring Japanese art and fabric, African artifacts, jewelry, and more. Visit us at hausergallery.com.
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