Baule Bo Nun Amuin Mask

Women are forbidden to look at the Bo Nun Amuin mask (even during performances); those that do look risk illness, misfortune or even death.
Tribe: Baule

Origin: Ivory Coast

Approx Age: Mid – later 20th Century

Materials: Wood, libations, egg shell

Dimensions cm: 45 long x 27 wide x 19 deep

Ref. Number: 1162

£900.00
Description:
The very mysterious Baule Bo Nun Amuin helmet mask, this is the most sacred of all Baule masks.. Ferociously styled, scrapes and paint loss strong evidence of being libated for offering’s as egg shell remains on the head of the mask. Its evident that there has been insect invasion a long time ago, not now present. This was originally bought from the chief of the village of Beoumi.

 

History

The Baule bo nun amuin mask (also called bonu amuin, amuin yasua or bonu amuen; meaning ‘gods of the bush’ or ‘gods risen from the bush’) is a strong protector of the village from outside threats. The mask has also been used during funerals of important male elders, former dancers and chiefs, and only ever danced at night. It is believed that the mask helps deceased elders become ancestors in the afterlife; the ancestors of the Baule people bring good fortune and help to the village and aid in the prevention of external threats.

Also used to discipline women, Baule bo nun amuin masks are used to threaten women into good behaviour. Women are forbidden to look at the mask (even during performances); those that do look risk illness, misfortune or even death. These masks are so sacred that only a select number of men from a secret society are allowed to see the mask. It is considered taboo for anyone but the dancer to touch the mask.

When not in use, bo nun amuin masks are kept in a sanctuary outside of the village where they receive sacrifices.

This is another interpretation of the Baule Bo Nun Amiun mask, also knowns as ‘Ga Houkei’. Photo taken from Hans Himmelheber’s book ‘Die Kultur der Baule’.

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