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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Baule Sculptures : Baule Brass Chief's Staff
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Baule Brass Chief's Staff - PF.4490
Origin: Central Ivory Coast
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 51" (129.5cm) high x 1.5" (3.8cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Baule
Medium: Brass

Location: United States
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The Baule are notable for their egalitarian society. Its social organization is founded on the extended family, which forms an aulo. If there are several families in the same village, the richest and shrewdest man is chosen to manage matters of common interest. There is also a fair degree of equality between the sexes, with no distinction between paternal and maternal relatedness, nor is there preferrential marriage except in certain cases. In the past women often occupied the role of village chief. It is then of even greater interest that they should create a symbol of kingly authority in the form of a staff, which has been identified with kings for centuries in cultures all over the world.

This regal staff shows a figure seated as if on a throne, wearing a beautiful flowing headdress, somewhat similiar to those worn by the Pharaohs of Egypt. The predominent breasts suggests the figure is female. She wears braclets ( a sign of wealth), and type of skirt with two thick bands around the waist. Her expression is very pensive or meditative, which suggests she may be a representation of an ancestor or female deity. Yet, it is most tempting to assume she is in fact a proud female chief, sitting in counsel, dispensing wisdom with authority and compassion. The entire object exudes a sense of power, almost granduer in its elegant form, crowned by a female of great dignity possessing sweetness and grace.
- (PF.4490)


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