Baule Goli KpleKple mask

  • Tribe: Baule
  • Origin: Sakassou, Cote D'ivoire (Ivory Coast
  • Approx Age: Mid - later 20th century
  • Materials: Wood, cloth, plant fibre
  • Dimensions cm: Mask -
  • Ref. Number: 1012a

A stunning Baule Goli KpleKple mask in a traditional raffia adornment and also an under raffia dress. The kplekple mask is a very happy one reflecting the 3 day long rejoicing that is accomplished with the family of Goli masks. The rear of the mask still has the bite stick in situ but due to age and wear some of the holes around the edge of the mask have broken through, which is not that uncommon, very difficult to see as the raffia adornment covers it completely. This was collected from Sakassou in Ivory Coast, this village is located in between Yamoussokro and Bouake.  These masks have a few names, “Wan disc masks” (goli dandri), and the names “antin kouassii” or “anteni” are preferred to the kplekple used in most villages, but also known as “lunar or disc” masks.

The kplekple masks are classed as a junior mask (in some villages classed as the offspring of the Glin and the Kpwan masks, Glin being the father and Kpwan the mother). In the Goli festival there are usually 2 kplekple masks, one black “kplekple yasua” (male) and the other being red, the “kplekple bla” (female), they come out at the same time but take turns to dance. They are regarded as frivolous, playful masks that enjoy chasing and tease the children around the village with songs: its very rare that these masks appear during night-time funerals when the goli becomes sacred.

Baule Goli mask

Goli is the day-long spectacle that normally involves the whole village and includes the appearance of four pairs of masks, music played on special instruments, and, ideally, the jojoyous consumption of a great deal of palm wine. Goli can be performed both as an entertainment and for the funeral of important men. The very characteristic, round-shaped “lunar” goli is surmounted by two horns. It was borrowed from the Wan for a celebration adopted by the Baule after 1900. Celebrating peace and joy, they would sing, dance, and drink palm wine. In the procession, the goli preceded the four groups of dancers, representing young adolescents and parents keeping them in check. The goli would be used on the occasion of the new harvest, the visit of dignitaries, or at the funerals of notables.

Baule goli mask


Masks correspond to several types of dances: the gba gba, the bonu amuin, the mblo and the goli. They never represent the ancestors and are always worn by men. The gba gba is used at the funerals of women during the harvest season. It celebrates beauty and age, hence its refined features. The double mask represents the marriage of the sun and the moon or twins, whose birth is always a good sign. The bonu amuin protects the village from external threats; it obliges the woman to a certain discipline; and it appears at the commemorations of death of notables. When they intervene in the life of the community, they take the shape of a wooden helmet that represents a buffalo or antelope and which is worn with a raffia costume and metal ankle bracelets; the muzzle has teeth, which incarnate the fierce animal that is to defend the group.

Baule goli lunar mask