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Baule Goli glin mask

Baule Goli glin mask
Baule Goli glin maskBaule Goli glin maskBaule Goli glin maskBaule Goli glin mask
Tribe: Baule
Country: Ivory Coast
Ritual: Goli
Name: Goli Glin
Materials: Wood, copper staples, rope, oil paints
Provenance: Coll. Ralph Proctor, Bouake, Ivory Coast 1983. Ralph Proctor Gallery, Pittsburgh 1983-2002. Andrew Turley, SuagaCollection 2002.
Comments: Age estimated by Candice Ranelli from the Ralph Proctor Gallery at pre 1940'.

The Goli is a day long Baule festival which includes four types of masks: the father goli glen which is represented here; his wife kpwan; the circular and horned kplekple; and in some villages, goli dandri, which is similar to kplekple only much larger. The festival includes the four masks, music played on special instruments and palm wine. It is a relatively new dance for the Baule, who adopted it from their neighbours the Wan people less than 100 years ago.

By the 1970's Goli was the most widespread Baule dance and by the late 1980's it had become the typical dance to represent the Baule.

The Wan, originators of Goli are a small Mende speaking tribe related to the Guro. Most Baule villages acquired Goli some time between 1900 and 1910, either from a neigbouring village or by sending people directly to the Wan to purchase and learn the dance.

Kplekple the junior male masks are the first to appear worn by young boys and the dancing is easiest (male masks =red and female masks =black). The second pair of masks to appear are Goli Glen, the senior male masks. They are barely distinguishable from each other, have a large antelope skin on their back and combine antelope and crocodile features. The masker does a rapid vigorous stamping dance that is wild looking but never uncontrolled.

This Goli Glen mask displays the typical red, white and black oil based paint as a stylistic and iconographic feature. The circular face bordered in white, with black and white spherical eyes reflects the width and shape of the thick wooden collar. Black inward curving horns with white tips that touch (and white tear drops at their base) reflect the bush cow or buffalo label often applied to the Goli mask.

The mask is well worn and heavy. It has multiple age cracks and several of them have been tribally stabilised with copper staples - on the horns and the thick wooden collar under the mouth. The collar has four sets of double holes drilled through it and remnants of rope remain where a raffia cape was tied in place. There is insect damage around the base of the collar.


  1. African Art, Western Eyes. Susan Vogel. Yale University Art Gallery. 1997.
  2. Candice Ranelli, Ralph Proctor Gallery. Pittsburgh. 2002.
  3. A History of African Art, Harry. N. Abrams Inc Publisher NY 2001.
  4. African Masks of the Barbier Mueller Collection. Prestel Verlag Munich. 1998.