Baule Royal Crocodile Foot Stool 0517

  • Tribe: Baule
  • Origin: Cote D'ivoire
  • Approx Age: 40 years +
  • Materials: Wood
  • Dimensions cm: 77 long x 16 tall x 14 wide (widest & tallest points)
  • Ref. Number: 0517

A very rare opportunity to own a Baule royal crocodile foot stool. This was owned by Chief Nanan Tanon N’goh of Bouake in Cote D’ivoire. It was carved for him when he first became Chief of his village over 40 years ago. The crocodile to the Baule is representation of protection against evil spirits, and being two headed can protect from either side.

This has a beautiful aged wear patina, the crocodile’s heads are lifted with mouths open to make them look very aggressive. There are sight imperfections due to age and use but overall an exquisite and very rare piece of tribal art.

The Baule belong to the Akan peoples who inhabit Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. According to a legend, during the eighteenth century, the queen, Abla Poku and her factions after having a serious disagreement with their Ashanti king had to lead her people west to the shores of the Comoe, the land of Senufo. In order to cross the river, she sacrificed her own son. This sacrifice was the origin of the name Baule, for baouli means “the child has died.”

An artistic impression of the Legend of Queen Abla Pokou

They displaced and intermarried with the Senufu of the north and Guru people of the west. They came to dominate southern Ivory Coast. Poku died in 1760 and was burried in her capital, the town of Warebo, close to Bouake. Queen Akwa Boni, niece of Poku, inherited the throne. Her people became known as the Baoule and took over the gold mines west of the Bandama River. At the death of Queen Akwa, the kingdom plunged into dynastic disputes among the major family heads. The kingdom never achieved great unity, as the Empire of Asante. It was conquered by the French in the latter half of the 1800s.

The Baule create art in several media, including wooden sculpture, gold and brass casting similar to their Asante ancestors, and mask and figure carving, which have been greatly influenced by their Senufo and Guro neighbours.

The Baule grow yams and some maize as primary crops. They are also exporters of cocoa and kola nuts, which are grown on local plantations using large numbers of exploited migrant laborers, most from Burkina Faso. Many locally grown crops were introduced from the Americas during the Atlantic slave trade. These include maize, manioc, peppers, peanuts, tomatoes, squash, and sweet potatoes. They also raise farm animals including sheep, goats, chickens, and dogs. Markets which are primarily run by women take place every four days and are the center of the local economy. Local produce and craft items are sold alongside imported goods from all over the world.

Photo by Wolfgang Jaenicke

The Baule have a highly centralized government with a king or chief at the top who inherits his position along matrilineal lines. There are various subchiefs in charge of his local populations, and all the chiefs rely on political advisors who help in the decision making process. The Goli association is the primary mask association, which provides social order among the Baule.
Religion includes both ancestor worship and a heirarchy of nature gods. Nature spirits and spirit spouses are often represented in sculpture. Their creator god is Alouroua, who is never physically represente