Baule (Baoule)

The Baule is an ethnic group living in Ivory Coast and Ghana with a population of around one million people. They speak Baule language which forms part of the Kwa language group. Formerly an important and powerful state, today they are divided into several small chiefdoms. The Baule are renowned for their art. Their masks can be divided into two groups: animal and human. Human masks are produced and worn by men only, although Baule carvers do not inherit the profession by the right of birth. The masks are used to make a contacts with Gu, the ruler of the world.
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