baule slingshot handle
country: ivory coast
size: 7" (17.8 cm)
provenace: scaasi collection
Great patina from use, this slingshot is in outstanding condition. Used on rodents and birds, these slingshot helped provide food for the people. The artistry of the Baule carvers is evident in the detail of the carving, and the passion that went into decorating everyday items.
The Baule name comes from their myth of origin. In the seventeenth century, in what is today known as Ghana, the Denkyera kingdom rose to prominence, but a dispute led to a dynasty leaving the country. Abla Poku, the queen, had to flee far from Kumasi with her people, the Asabu, whom she led through the forests, but their trip was brought up short by the Comoe river. she consulted her diviner, who told her that to ensure safe passage across the river, she would have to sacrifice her only child. So, eager to escort her people to the promised land, she decided the she herself would throw the child into the waters as an offering to the river gods, crying out "Baouli" ("My child is dead!"), and the followers are said to have adopted this word as the name for their people in honor of the queen's sacrifice.
Notes on the Scaasi Collection: The bulk of the collection was put together in the 1970's from galleries in the New York area while the collector was living in Greenwich Village. His collecting continued over the years though with a piece added here and there through till the mid to late 1990’s. No documentation exists, the information is from family members.