Baule Colonial Figure
11″ (28 cm) Tall.
Private Estate Collection – Florida, USA.
An early, hand-carved and hand-painted colonial, wooden colonial figure in a formal suit and a jaunty pose by the Baule people of Ivory Coast. Colonial figures represent the influence of the European settlers to the former French Colony of West Africa. This shirtless male figure is primitive in design and carved from a single piece of wood. The bright colors imitate the different outfits worn by the colonialists. These unique carvings depict every day professions. Traditionally, a Baulé woman would have a carving made of her “spirit lover”, an idealized vision of her future husband, who would have attributes such as strength and athleticism. A charming art-form with wonderful expressions, this genre of art evolved after the colonial period. Desired societal values began to be reflected so that colonial carvings were depicted as businessmen or in professions depicting wealth, prosperity, intelligence and status.