Male figured seated on high-backed stool with hands resting on abdomen; symmetrical scarification patterns on cheeks and temples, also down center of forehead and at base of the nose. Coiffure is high crested and segmented. Figure wears sandals and necklace or amulet around neck. Figure has sheen to patina, pigmented deep brown in contrast to stool. Figure has bore hole in back between buttocks.
Baule men and women have figures like this carved for their “other-world” or spirit spouses in order to please them and ensure they will bring health and good fortune. Above all, spirits require these figures to be beautiful. The spirit determines how he/she should look by revealing him/herself in a dream, either to his/her human spouse, a diviner, or the figure’s carver. This figure’s scarification patterns, placid countenance, coiffure, long neck and robust calves are features of ideal beauty in Baule eyes.
Face mask made of wood, covered in white kaolin; face has round, bulging forehead, deep set narrow eyes, small round ears, fiber beard, open rectangular mouth and pointed teeth; basketry weave that held mask on the dancer’s head is visible at back and sides; raffia attachment on top of head frayed and missing.
In pre-colonial Sala Mpasu society authority was vested in members of the Matambu warriors’ society who could secure the rights to wear an array of important masks. The kasangu mask was made of wood and represented a warrior. Covered in kaolin, a fine white clay, it is distinguished by its open rectangular mouth and pointed teeth—a Sala Mpasu mark of beauty.