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Pendant in the Form of a Human Face

Considered heirlooms to be passed from one generation to the next, gold pendants traditionally are owned by wealthy and powerful Baule individuals and families. Hung from the neck or attached to the hair, they were—and sometimes still are—worn by men and women at funerals and other celebrations. This pendant was cast using the lost-wax method, in which a model of the object to be cast is formed in wax, covered with clay, and heated so that the wax will melt and can be replaced with molten metal. Then, after the metal has cooled, the clay is broken away, revealing the cast object. Though Baule casters have created pendants in several forms, they are best known for those depicting human faces, such as this one.

Baule peoples, Côte d’Ivoire
Pendant in the Form of a Human Face
Late 19th or early 20th century
H. 3 7/8 in. (9.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 76.98.2