The first book exclusively on the subject, Baule Monkeys explores many aspects of these fear-inducing sculptures far from the traditional art canon of the delicate Baule masks and figures. The awe-inspiring bowl bearers manifested invisible powers, both malign and benign, and served their communities through the mediation of diviners.
Springing from a remarkable group of figures in the Africarium Collection, the book explores the creation, usage and morphology of the bowlbearers, and sheds light on the cultural and ritual context in which they operated.
Through extensive research, this book combines new and fascinating discoveries with all earlier research on the subject, an original map, and field-photos never published before. It focuses on fifteen objects from the Africarium Collection and a further forty monkey figures from public and private collections all presented in beautifully detailed full page spreads.
Bruno Claessens graduated as an historian in 2005. He became Guy van Rijn’s assistant in 2007 and archivist of Yale University’s-van Rijn Archive of African Art in 2010. He publishedEre Ibeji in 2013, a study of Yoruba twin figures. Bruno Claessens runs the popular African art blog BrunoClaessens.com and has been
associate curator of the Africarium Collection since 2012. He became European Head of
Christie’s African & Oceanic Art Department in February 2016.
Jean-Louis Danis graduated from Brussels and Harvard universities towards a career in finance focused on developing countries, including Africa. With objects collected by his grandfather, a former military commander of the Kivu region of the Belgian Congo, Jean- Louis started collecting tribal art in the early 90s. Outside support enabled him to found the Africarium and to continue his passion. The Africarium, a private space for African Art, has contributed to this original research about a facet of the art present in its collection.