The Baule sculptural tradition includes a figure which is the opposite of the polished and highly detailed ansestor statues we normally associate with Baule art. This "other" Baule figure represents one of the "humbler" deities. It has the head of a monkey and is called Gbekre or Mbotumbo. This deity is  judge of hell and helper of those in need, protector of the living against their enemies.  Gbekre is roughly carved in unstained wood. They combine human and animal traits in such a way that it is nearly impossible to separate them. Besides, they are used for many different cults,including trance divination cult.

Baule, Figure of the Monkey God Gbekre

Written by Vera Raskin — January 10, 2014

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