African Art: a prestigious Swiss collection

Milan, Wednesday 14 October 2020


Baulé, region of Bouaké (Ivory Coast)

Wood with a thick, dark coating
H 48 cm
Male figure.
It represents a male figure who held a role of particular importance in the spiritual connection between the kingdom of the living and the afterlife.His head is the main element of focus, with his hairstyle in a bun, adorned with copper tacks. His beard, originally formed of two intertwining strands, has undergone a European restoration.His half-closed eyes resembling coffee grains bestow a semblance of recollection upon the face.The scarification on the body, beyond a merely aesthetic function, is indicative of his ethnic group. The figure faces the front, is symmetrical, and has his arms down by his body. His feet isolated on the ground signify that this sculpture is a being who lives in the afterlife.The thick coating that covers it is the result of continual treatments with oily substances carried out by the owner to protect it.


€ 20.000 - 24.000

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- Former collection of Prince Sadruddin Aga Kahn (Geneva) (1933 - 2003);
- Former Paolo Morigi collection (Lugano) (Morigi inventory label num. 387);
- Former private collection (Lugano);


- Lugano 2002, Palazzo Riva, Banca Svizzera Italiana (BSI);
- Geneva, Musée d’Ethnographie de Genève, December 1978 – Summer 1982;


Reproduced in:
- SAVARY CLAUDE “Sculptures africaines d’un collectionneur de Genève” Musée d’Ethnographie of Geneva 1978, page 56, num. 26, fig. 26, 26a, 26b;
- SOTHEBY’S “Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection of African Art” London 27th June 1983, lot 2 - VENTURI LUCA M. “Anime antiche, arte negra, da una raccolta di sculture dell’Africa occidentale” BSI Bank, Lugano 2002, fig. 23;

With wood, the Baulé created a type of sculpture which has no comparison in the tradition of the people of Ivory Coast. The statues called “waka sona” represent portraits of ancestors idealised in their beauty or the family genes of the Baulé tradition. These sculptures represent parents’ hope that their children might look like their family sculptures once born. They are very refined works with their sweet, elegant, smooth outline on the surfaces, which have made Baulé sculptors famous in the world.


African Art

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