The art of carving in Côte d’Ivoire

  African sculpture art has a unique charm. It has been accepted and widely spread by Westerners more than 100 years ago. The art master Picasso created the precedent of “Cubism” under the influence of African sculpture. There are more than 50 countries in Africa, and there are thousands of languages. Their carvings are as colorful as their languages, and they are famous all over the world. Among many African countries, the carvings of Côte d’Ivoire are unique and colorful.
  Cote d’Ivoire is located on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. It is a multi-ethnic country with more than 60 tribes. It has a long history and splendid culture, especially its carving art has a long history and wide spread. In the various, dazzling, vivid and lively carving arts, according to the different materials used, carving is divided into wood carving and ivory carving.
  Wood carving is the most common and common art in Côte d’Ivoire. Cote d’Ivoire is located in the tropics, rich in forest resources, rich in ebony, mahogany, mahogany and other precious woods suitable for carving materials, which provides inexhaustible natural materials for the people of various tribes in Cote d’Ivoire to engage in carving art activities.
  The wood carvings of Côte d’Ivoire include mask carving, portrait carving, animal carving, utensil carving and sacrifice carving. These various wood carving works of art can be divided into two categories according to their uses: one is appreciative carving art, and the other is practical carving art. Appreciative sculptures include various portraits, human heads, animals, decorations, etc. Practical sculpture art is mainly based on daily production and daily necessities, such as picks, shovels, tables, chairs, wine glasses, rice bowls, etc.
  Industrious and intelligent Ivorian sculptors choose suitable tree trunks or branches in the forest, cut off the bark, and take them to a hidden place, away from the crowds to make creations in contact with the gods alone. They are a bit like modern performance artists, without models or Sketches, sculptures based on heartfelt feelings, art is done in a sincere act, so each piece is unique. Its mystery and weird shape shocked the world and people’s vision.
  Cote d’Ivoire’s wood-carved portraits are quite famous in Africa. The expression method has the unique rhythm and temperament of Ivorian life, rough and exaggerated, generalized deformation, concise lines, and human body proportions beyond the conventional. Usually the head is large, the torso is long, and the lower limbs are extremely short, emphasizing representative parts such as female breasts, buttocks, male genitalia, etc. A piece of lifelike works, aroused the purchase interest of foreign guests. When foreigners leave Côte d’Ivoire, they always buy some Ivorian woodcarving figures with Ivorian characteristics to bring back to their relatives and friends.
  The wood carving mask is one of the outstanding representatives of Ivory Coast wood carving art. In the eyes of Ivorians, the wooden mask is not only a work of art, but also contains a certain “spirituality”, it is a supernatural object that dominates the ordinary world. The wood-carved masks are like animals but not beasts, with green faces and fangs, which represent the gods of the Senufu tribe who are in charge of rewarding good and punishing evil; some are like people but not human, with kind and smiling faces, and there are divine birds and snakes perched on their heads. The protection goddess of the Luo tribe; some gods and people are one, solemn and mighty, with awe-inspiring manners, this is the embodiment of the Baule tribe. Some are shaped like cows, sheep, monkeys and other animals, and the images are lifelike and lifelike. Therefore, a wooden carved mask is regarded as a god with different powers and functions, with a strong primitive and superstitious color.
  Cote d’Ivoire means “Ivory Coast” and is rich in ivory in history, so ivory carving is a very popular art in Cote d’Ivoire since ancient times. Such as ivory bracelets, ivory figure statues, ivory ornaments, etc. Ivory carvings in Côte d’Ivoire are quite different from those in our country in artistic style. The ivory carvings in Cote d’Ivoire are mostly related to the life background of the creators. The artistic style is rough and bold, free and romantic, and the expression techniques are not restricted to small sections. Côte d’Ivoire is located in the tropics and has dense virgin forests. It was originally an important birthplace of wild African elephants in the world. African elephants are huge, one tusk is thick and long, and one tusk weighs about 40 kilograms, and the extra large one even reaches 80 kilograms. The ivory of African elephants is dark yellow and delicate in texture, making it an ideal natural material for ivory carving. Unfortunately, due to people’s frenzied hunting and the reduction of forest area, wild elephants in Côte d’Ivoire can only be seen in nature reserves now, and there is not much ivory that can be used for ivory carving.
  However, in today’s Côte d’Ivoire, there are still ivory markets in the Cocodi and Cousima districts of the economic capital of Abidjan, and in Grand Bassam, a few dozen kilometers east of Abidjan. In these places, people can buy their favorite ivory products. Especially in the Kumasi district of Abidjan, in a long row of shops, ivory products are dazzling, exquisite and realistic figure ivory carvings, all kinds of animal ivory carvings, as well as ivory ornaments, ivory bracelets, ivory necklaces, ivory Earrings, ivory rings, etc., can be said to have everything. Merchants can also make some ivory Maitreya Buddhas, chopsticks and walking sticks specially for Chinese people according to their hobbies. According to traders, the ivory products or ivory sold in Côte d’Ivoire are not produced in Côte d’Ivoire, and most of the ivory is imported from countries such as Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Zambia. In the ivory market of Côte d’Ivoire, many shops are front shops and back factories, processing ivory products on the spot. In the absence of sketches, models, or a decent production workshop, the artist allowed to improvise and carved out a piece of lifelike works with African characteristics, which amazed all the guests present.

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