A Baule monkey, called “Gbekre”, standing on a rectangular, rounded base with bent muscular legs, the cylinfrical torso with arms in a position like holding a ritual object to the front, the simian head with a broad snout and baring teeth, encrusted greyish to brown patina.
“Related animal figures are used for many different cults among the Baule. In some cases, the figures are secret and for example, women are forbidden to see them, while in cults the sculptures are openly shown. The cupped hands at the front of the figure are for offerings and the encrustration on the figure attests to years of libations”.
Vogel 1997: 235
“The Baule have monkey figures commonly used for the “Mbra” cult that more or less resemble each other. Endowed with prognathic jaw and sharp teeth and a granular patina resulting from sacrifices, the monkey holds a bowl or a pestle in its paws that was used to hold an egg. Sources differ on its role or function: some say it intervenes in the ritual of divination, others that it is a protection against sorcerers, or a protective divinity of agrarian rites, or a bush spirit. Owned only by trance diviners and certain families, the figure resides hidden outside under a shelter. The sculpture is said to feed on sacrifices brought from the bush and poured all over the figure, leaving it filthy and encrusted.
Sources: A History of Art in Africa and Africa and Africa – The Art of A Continent.
related exemplares Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY,
Paolo Morigi Collection
Ferrari de la Salle Collection, an Antique dealer and collector,
who lived a long time in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Called the Master of the Double C Auricle.
1.200 – 1.600,- Euro
Height: 60 cm
Weight: 3,1 kg