Baule Mblo Portrait Mask

 


MBLO
PORTRAIT MASK
Before 1935

Baule Peoples, Ivory Coast
Wood, pigment, 16 x 5 3/4 in.
Gift of Jaimee Uhlenbrock
2006.020.002

One of the oldest of Baule dances is the mblo, a dance of celebration and entertainment that honors an ancestor. Masks are worn at the mblo that represent specific individuals, but they are idealized according to the Baule standards of beauty. Even so, no two masks are exactly alike. Only the best dancers in a village would be allowed to participate in the mblo, since the dance is focused on placating the spirit of an ancestor.


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