Shawn Athari

Contemporary Glass Artist


The Baule one of the largest groups in the Ivory Coast. They are farmers who live in the eastern side of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). They live essentially in the middle of the Cote d'Ivoire between the Comoé River and the Bandama River.

Legend goes that in the 17th century the Baulé left present day Ghana and traveled west into present day Côte d'Ivoire under the lead of the Queen Pokou. According to oral tradition, the Baulé were forced to leave Ghana when the Ashanti rose to power. While they were fleeing for their lives they came to a large river that they were unable to cross. With their enemies chasing them they began to throw their most prized possessions into the river. It came to the Queen's attention that their most valuable possession was her son. The Queen realized that she had to sacrifice her son to the river and threw him in. Upon doing so hippopotamuses rose from the river and allowed them to cross, saving their lives. After crossing, the Queen was so upset about losing her son that all she could say was "baouli," meaning: the child is dead. From that point on they were known as the Baulé.

This mask, originally done in wood is archaic in style and topped with a sort of comb. An original can be seen at Musee Des Arts Africans et Oceanian, Paris Size:15x33x5 boxed. 12x34 on 10x10 Plexiglas base.Done predominantly in black with highlighted dichroic and trim pieces.