Fashion, Art and the Baule Tribe
Posted on February 4, 2014
‘Adorned by Buddha & the Baule’ is one of our stunning exclusive one-off necklaces.
This piece features:
Handcrafted clay Buddha amulet pendant from Thailand set in brass. Antique hand-cast trade beads from the Baule Tribe of the Ivory Coast, Africa (see history below). Cowry shell clusters from East Timor, with wooden and brass beading on knotted hemp with an adjustable brass chain.
The Baule Tribe:
The Baule also known as Baoule, are one of the largest ethnic groups of the Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in Africa. They played a central role in twentieth-century history of their country having waged the longest war of resistance to French colonization of any West African people, whilst also managing to maintain their traditional beliefs and objects for longer than many other ethnic groups.
According to a legend, during the eighteenth century when Ashanti rose to power, the Baule led by Queen Pokou were forced to leave Ghana as it’s known today. Fleeing for their lives, they travelled west and arrived at the shores of the Comoe, a large river they were unable to cross.
The tribe began to throw their most prized possessions into the river. The Queen realized their most valuable possession was her son, and in order to save the tribe she needed to sacrifice him to the river.
Upon throwing him in, a large hippopotamus rose from the river allowing the tribe to cross, thus saving their lives. After the crossing, Queen Pokou was so distraught about losing her son she kept repeating ”baouli”, “baouli”, meaning ‘the child is dead’. This sacrifice was the origin of the name of the tribe, and from that point onwards they were known as the Baoule.