African Baule Sculptor, Hand Carved Figure, Human and Monkey Traits.

  • $224.99 CAD

African Baule Sculptor, Hand Carved Figure, Human and Monkey Traits, Holding a Groin Cover.


The 400,000 Baule who live in central Côte d'Ivoire in West Africa has a rich carving tradition. Many sculpted figures and masks of the human form are utilized in personal shrines and in masquerade performances.

The Baule possess a figure with the head of a monkey representing one of the humbler gods. It is called Gbekre or Mbotumbo, a god with several tasks, for he is both judge of hell and helper of those in need, protector of the living against their enemies. These so-called “mendicant monkey” figures are very different in the style of other Baule sculptures. If the ancestor-cult statues are often characterized by refined and detailed carving, the wood stained and often polished, the gbekre are very different. They are roughly carved in unstained wood. They combine human and animal traits in such a way that it is nearly impossible to separate them. Besides, they are used for many different cults, for a trance divination cult among them. Women are forbidden to see some of them, others are openly shown.


Some of the first people to appreciate the power and beauty of pearl shell were the coastal Aboriginal groups of the northwest Kimberley coast. Collecting the shell on the king tides, these people have shaped and engraved pearl shell to celebrate country and traditions. People continue to value both guwan (undecorated shell) and riji (engraved shell) in dance and ceremony and as an important item of exchange.


picture of a group of aboriginal men wearing a penis cover

Item Code - WOO2A487HAB

Width: 3 3/4"  Height: 12 3/4"  Depth: 4 1/2"  Weight: 1 kg

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