Around 1 million Baule occupy a part of the eastern Cote d’Ivoire that is both forest and savanna land. The Baule is one of the rare tribes where sculpture is produced for aesthetic appreciation as well as for ritualistic purposes. Baule wooden sculptures allow a closer contact with the supernatural world of ancestors. The ancestral statues, male and female, have a strongly marked, traditional style. The face is delicate, forehead high, mouth finally cut. The tribal hairdo is highly stylized, corresponding to the hairdo still used by Baule today. Scarification marks are done in relief. The name of these statues is waka sona, “wooden people”. Although the ancestor sculpture’s main purpose was to insure the beneficial presence of the ancestor, they had additional uses: to bring about good harvests, and generally to promote personal well-being and prosperity.
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