The Baule culture originates from Cote D’ Ivoire in the Western African region, where they are best-known for their portrait masks depicting human faces. However, the Baule also create very individualized animal masks that symbolize traits that are important to specific ceremonies; a mask depicting characteristics of the buffalo, for example, may be used to represent a fierce animal that will defend the people of the community. The different animal masks are often so specific to a certain ceremony or ritual that the mask serves only that one purpose, and there is only one version of that mask ever made.
This Animal Mask has an elongated, human-like face shape, but also an open mouth with a large tongue and tusks, as well as rabbit-like ears protruding at the top. While the mask most closely resembles Baule rabbit-human masks, it also incorporates traits, like tusks, that are only seen on other Baule animal masks. Researched by Brandellia Hang
For more information, you may contact the researcher(s) noted in the title of this exhibit entry, or Dr. Billie Follensbee, the professor of the course, at BillieFollensbee@MissouriState.edu