Bakari Coulibaly, Koulé from Dickodougou

Senufo sculptures Senoufo Syonfolo Tugubele Kpelie Coulibaly
Overview of sculptures by Bakari Coulibaly, Dickodougou

No doubt, Bakari Coulibaly is the most spectacular carver and is one of the leading Senufo masters. He lived and worked in Dickodougou, south of Korhogo, Ivory Coast. Till today he is one of the most popular and famous artists of Ivory Coast. He provides an extraordinary range of all kind of Senufo sculptures. His skills and abilities are outstanding, his feeling for shape, form, composition and proportion is unsurmountable.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell, that a mask is carved by Bakari, because he is working in such a wide range of genres, techniques and elaborations. But his extremely decorative style is inimitatable. Every piece is different and unique. He surely had helpers and co-workers, but his characteristic handwriting is distinctive. Exemplary for his style is, that he always tops a figuration and pulls it to the edge. He can truely be descripted as flamboyand. His exact life data is not exactly to determine, the researched information diverse. But for sure it is to say, that he was a constantly strong and innovative carver of the traditional Senufo style.


Kpelié mask by Bakari Coulibaly, Dickodougou, Senufo art

Kpelié mask, carved by Bakari Coulibaly, Koulé from Dickodougou.

 

43,0 x 15,0 x 13,0 cm, wood.

 

Literature:

- Wenn Neuordnung Ordnung schafft, Markus Ehrhard, pages 136 - 138.

 

Kpelié mask by Bakari Coulibaly, Dickodougou, Senufo art

Kpelié mask, carved by Bakari Coulibaly, Koulé from Dickodougou.

 

42,0 x 16,5 x 11,0 cm, wood.

 

Literature:

- Wenn Urform Form bestimmt, Markus Ehrhard, pages 152 -155.

 

Kpelié mask by Bakari Coulibaly, Dickodougou, Senufo art

Kpelié mask, carved by Bakari Coulibaly, Koulé from Dickodougou.

 

40,0 x 13,0 x 10,5 cm, wood.

 

Literature:

not published yet

 


Comparing these three outstanding Kpelié masks, which are made during his last period, you see a similar construction and composition. All are perfectly synchronic and equal. At first, there is a good case to believe that Bakari worked with templates of successful masks, but meassuring them, they are different in lenght proportions. All faces have the same construction, the pair of legs have different decorations but are carved in the same characteristic shape. The Kapok fruit shaped centrepieces show also equal faces, presumably Tugubele spirits. And on top, every mask ends with a filigreed head. It is possible, that some details and decorations are made by one of his co-workers. The hatching on the decorations elements on both sides of the masks are very precise, like carved with a ruler.

The wood of all three masks is very dense, but they are light in weight. The back is caved extremely deep. The left mask does show a special setup in the back, that face and nose do fit perfectly in the mask.

Kpelié mask, carved by Bakari Coulibaly, Koulé from Dickodougou.
Kpelié mask, carved by Bakari Coulibaly, Koulé from Dickodougou.

Left: Back of the Kpelié mask, carved by Bakari Coulibaly, Koulé from Dickodougou, with a special setup that fits perfectly on face and nose.

 

Right: Top of the Kpelié mask with a filigreed Tugubele spirit.

 

40,0 x 13,0 x 10,5 cm, wood.

 

Literature:

not published yet

 


Senufo Kpelie mask masque Senoufo
Senoufo art, Senufo mask Kpelié
Kpelié mask by Bakari Coulibaly, Dickodougou

For a master like Bakari Coulibaly even a mask like this is a masterpiece beyond comparison. Kpelié masks are not rare masks. Between Senufo carvers there is a competition, which mask is the most impressive and beautiful one.

This mask was propably made during his strongest time as an artist, the patina does persume an antique mask. Thought this mask seem overloaded with decoration and delicate features, the composition and arrangement appears calm and balanced. The dynamic curved horns are complex itself. Top, again, is the central statue of a female Tugubele spirit, that on it's own is perfect. The shoulders are wing shaped, which is a typical sign for an antique mask.

 

Kpelié mask, carved by Bakari Coulibaly, Koulé from Dickodougou. 38,0 x 15,5 x 10,0 cm, wood.

 

Literature:

- Wenn Urform Form bestimmt, Markus Ehrhard, pages 160 - 163.

 

Masterpiece Senufo Kpelié Senoufo Kpelie masque mask
Kpelié mask by Bakari Coulibaly, Dickodougou

Senufo Kpelie mask masken Senoufo Coulibaly
Kpelié mask by Bakari Coulibaly, Dickdougou
Senufo Kpelie mask Senoufo masque art
Kpelié mask by Bakari Coulibaly, Dickodougou

This mask carved by Bakari Coulibaly represents an own genre in the group of Kpelié masks. It does not look like a typical Kpelié, but it belongs to the type of Kpelié.

The oustanding and pulled-up horns, in many cases hold by the centre figure, show an animal subject. But there is no confirmed information about this certain genre, nor what species of animal is shown.

The back of this mask with the fixing wholes do show authentic sign of usage and patina.

 

Kpelié mask, carved by Bakari Coulibaly, Koulé from Dickodougou. 37,5 x 15,0 x 11,0 cm, wood.

 

Literature:

- Wenn Urform Form bestimmt, Markus Ehrhard, pages 156 - 159.


Syonfolo Senufo Senoufo cavalier horserider statue
Syonfolô by Bakari Coulibaly, Dickodougou
Syonfolo cavalier Senoufo Senufo statue art
Syonfolô by Bakari Coulibaly, Dickodougou

The horserider is a classic statue in every repertoire of a Senufo carver. To carve a horse in combination with a human figure efforts certain skills for shape, proportion and composition. Often the horse is carved very small.

Syonfolô statues are used by diviners, they are never owned by a private person. These statues symbolize power, so the silhouette of a good Syonfolô is A-shaped and represents hierachy and a commanding structure by shape.

Bakari Coulibaly carved this Syonfolô in a remarkable architecture. The curved lines in the saddle or back of the rider give this statue a dynamic stance. Characteristic for Bakaris horse riders are the extremely shaped and exalted decorated hats. These braided farmers hats are called Tefala-Ndong and do not only protect, they are symbol of wisdom of a wise farmer.

 

Syonfolô, carved by Bakari Coulibaly, Koulé from Dickodougou. 43,0 x 28,5 x 10,0 cm, wood.

 

Literature:

- Wenn Urform Form bestimmt, Markus Ehrhard, pages 150 - 151.

 


Tugubele Senufo Sennoufo statue art
Tugubele statue by Bakari Coulibaly, Dickodougou
Tugubele statue Senufo art Senoufo statuette
Tugubele statue by Bakari Coulibaly, Dickodougou

Bakari Coulibaly carved this 95 cm tall female Tugubele statue for the Tienporg, the secret society of women of Fodonon (subgroup of Senufo) in Waraniéné, southwest of Korhogo.

It is the largest documentated statue made by his hands and it represents all features of the ideal of beauty of the Senufo. The decorative scars are deepend and also raised carved. The spirit is wearing jewelry around neck, arms and ankles. And the feet are shaped small in proportion to the body. The hair style is complex and very decorative, especially from the side view. Some parts of the head had to be restored. The whole silhouette is very elegant. The workmanship is remarkable and shows the particularity and distinctiveness of this special Tugubele statue.

 

Female Tugubele, carved by Bakari Coulibaly, Koulé from Dickodougou. for the Tienporg (secret society) of Fodonon (subgroup of Senufo in the southwest of Korhogo) in Waraniéné. 95,0 x 23,0 x 26,5 cm, wood.

 

Literature:

- Wenn Urform Form bestimmt, Markus Ehrhard, pages 164 - 167.