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Mask (Goli Kpan)

Masks and figures from the Baule, who live in central Côte d’Ivoire, were among the first African forms to capture Western attention at the beginning of the twentieth century, and this mask makes it easy to see why. Its self-contained oval form contrasts beautifully with the fine, delicate surface carving of the facial features, coiffure, and scarification. This is one of the oldest kpan known in the West, and one of the earliest goli published. It was exhibited in Paris in 1923 in L’art indigène des colonies française d’Afrique et d’Océanie et du Congo belge; though no catalogue accompanied that show, in 1925 a summary of it, Sculptures africaines et océaniennes, was published, featuring the museum’s mask on the cover.

Baule peoples, Côte d’Ivoire
Mask (Goli Kpan)
Early 20th century
Wood, pigment
H. 19 7/8 in. (50.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 77.34.1