Baule Ndoma Portrait Mask

c. 1900
$1,480 USD
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W: 7.5" D: 8.75" H: 14.5"
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To relieve stress and uplift their community, the Baule people of modern-day Côte d'Ivoire engage in a daylong masquerade known as the Mblo. A series of dances that escalate in complexity and intensity, the Mblo ends by honoring a distinguished member of the community with a mask carved in their likeness. Known as Ndoma, or "namesake" masks, such masks are typically commissioned by men to honor their female relatives and are considered artistic doubles of the person represented.

Distinguished by the oval face, high forehead, and downcast eyes, this Ndoma portrait mask once celebrated a revered senior female of a Baule community. Sculpted with a small mouth, arched eyebrows, and an elaborate hairstyle, the mask also expresses the Baule ideal of feminine beauty.

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