Lot 122
  • 122

Baule Goli Mask, Ivory Coast

30,000 - 50,000 USD
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  • wood
  • Height: 38 1/2 inches (100 cm)


John J. Klejman, New York
Balene McCormick, Santa Fe, acquired from the above in 1974

Catalogue Note

Regarding a related mask of this type previously in the collection of Charles Ratton and now in the Barbier-Mueller Museum, Geneva, Hahner-Herzog (1997: pl. 40) notes: "Kplekple belongs to a group of carious types of mask known as Goli and considered a family.  The father is goli glin, a zoomorphic mask, and the mother the anthropomorphic kpwan; a mask of similar design called kpwan kple represents their daughter, and kplekple represents their son.  Occasionally there are two kplekple masks - one painted black and considered masculine, called Kplekple yaswa, and the other painted red, the feminine kplekple bla [such as the offered lot...]  The Goli appear at times of danger, as during epidemics or at funeral ceremonies.  They are considered intercessors with supernatural forces, or amwin, which can have positive influence on human affairs, or, if not appeased, a negative one. [...]  Kplekplemasks are marked by a high degree of stylization and minimal detail.  The curve of their disc-shaped face is echoed by the horns, based on those of an antelope."

Kplekple masks vary in size, ranging in height from less than 15 inches to more than 40 inches.  For other masks of similar scale cf. one, measuring 43 1/4 inches (110 cm) in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, first published in 1966 by Warren Robbins (1966: 93); a second, measuring 38 1/2 inches (98 cm), in a private collection (Maesen and Van Geluwe 1963: 78, cat. 434; Meauzé 1967: 167; Yale - Van Rijn Archive inv. no. "21471"); a third, measuring 39 1/4 inches (99.7 cm), previously in the collection of Jay C. Leff, Uniontown (Carnegie Institute 1969: cat. 115); and a fourth, measuring 38 1/2 inches (100 cm) just as the McCormick Mask, in a private collection which was published and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in the landmark show "Primitivism" in 20th Century Art (Rubin 1984: 585).