African Art: a prestigious Swiss collection

Milan, Wednesday 14 October 2020


Baulé (Ivory Coast)

Hardwood with dark coating
H 49 cm
Male figure.

This male figure is the symbolic representation of a spiritual deity worshipped by the Baulé group. During rituals, devotees lavished attentions on this sculpture. The figure sits on a small stool, which represents its divine nature. The body is embellished with elegant scarifications, and the head is carved following the tradition of the most precious Baulé masks. It has a contemplative gaze, a crown of tattoos, hair obtained with parallel carvings and fixed on the back with a big braid.The chest is covered with a thick coating due to treatments with oily substances.The lower part of the torso was originally covered with a short fabric skirt, which is no longer present. A belt made of intertwined fibers is still on it. The feet, lying on the rectangular base, are covered with a crusty coating that bears witness to sacrificial offerings.The statue was made by a Baulé art master, and this can be seen both in the balanced structure, that alternates between full and empty volumes, and the unusual position of the hands on the stool. This type of throne, typical of the Ashanti tradition, was also used by Baulé sculptors.

Sold € 14.760,00

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- George F. Keller antique collection (New York/Davos) (Inv. G.F.K. 148);
- Former Paolo Morigi collection (Lugano);
- Former private collection (Lugano);


- Bern 1980, Musée des Beaux Arts;
- Lugano 2002, Palazzo Riva, Banca Svizzera Italiana (BSI);


Reproduced in:
- MORIGI PAOLO “Raccolta di un amatore d’arte primitiva”, Magliaso, Lugano & Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland 1980, fig. 154, page 152;
- VENTURI LUCA M. “Anime antiche, arte negra, da una raccolta di sculture dell’Africa occidentale” BSI Bank, Lugano 2002, fig. 19;

- HOLAS B.  “Sculptures ivoiriennes” Paris 1973, page 168;
- HOLAS B. “Sculptures ivoiriennes” Paris 1973, page 168;
- VOGEL SUSAN M. “L’art Baoulé du visible et de l’invisible” Paris 1999;
- BOYER ALAIN-MICHEL “Visions d’Afrique: Baulé” Milan 2008;


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