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African Art

Weaving Loom Pulley Surmounted by a Male Masked Figure

late 19th–early 20th century

Wood

9 in. (22.86 cm)
Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection
2006.51.180
A crucial element of a weaver’s loom, pulleys serve as a support for the heddles (small cords or wires) that are alternatively raised and lowered by a weaver to control his warp thread. Among the Baule and their neighbors, pulleys such as this one are subject to intense artistic focus. The spiritual dimension of the weaving process is emphasized by the inclusion of the masquerade figure with his hands on his stomach wearing a removable goli glin mask, a symbol of the wild forces of the forest. Through his art, a weaver draws upon these forces and brings them under order, just as he transforms cotton into cloth.
Geography: 
Côte d’Ivoire
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Baule
Period: 
19th–20th century
Classification: 
Tools and Equipment
Provenance: 

Sotheby’s, New York, November 29–30, 1984; Charles B. Benenson Collection, Greenwich, Conn, 1984–2004; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

Sotheby’s, New York, Important Tribal Art, African, and Oceanic Art, Including the Collection of Mrs. Wilfredo Lam, sale cat. (November 29–30, 1984), lot 202, ill.

Susan Vogel, Baule: African Art, Western Eyes, exh. cat. (New Haven: Yale University Art Gallery, 1997), 293, ill.

“Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006): 222.

Frederick John Lamp, Amanda Maples, and Laura M. Smalligan, Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2012), 164, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.