(Baoule, Bawule) Côte
ancestor waka sona figure. Around 1 million Baule occupy a part of the eastern
Cote dIvoire that is both forest and savanna land. Baule society was characterized
by extreme individualism, great tolerance, a deep aversion toward rigid political
structures, and a lack of age classes, initiation, circumcision, priests, secret societies. The Baule is one of the rare tribes
where sculpture is produced for aesthetic appreciation as well as for ritualistic
purposes. Baule wooden sculptures allow a closer contact with the supernatural world of
ancestors. The ancestral statues, male and female, have a strongly marked, traditional
style. The body is slender, face delicate, forehead high, mouth finally cut. The tribal
hairdo is highly stylized corresponding to the elaborate hairdo still used by Baule today.
The name of these statues is waka sona,
wooden people. Although the ancestor sculptures main purpose was to
insure the beneficial presence of the ancestor, they had additional uses: to insure
fertility, to prevent miscarriages, to bring about good harvests, and generally to promote
personal well-being and prosperity.
H. 28, W. 6½, D. 6