The Yaure (Yaoure) decorate a large number of familiar objects with figurative representations, however, their artistic talent can best be appreciated through their masks.
Yaure (Yaoure) Masks
Yaure (Yaoure) masks represent the spiritual power called the ‘Yu’. The masks have a lengthened face, a protruding mouth, semi-circular eyes and a high forehead delimited by a characteristic coiffure. This coiffure is divided into three parts and decorated with either an animal totem or with a headpiece in the form of a comb. The edge of Yaure (Yaoure) masks often displays a notched triangular shaped motif.
Yaure (Yaoure) masks are usually worn on two occasions:
- For Ye celebrations which aim to purify the village after a death has occurred, and to help the deceased’s soul to find eternal rest. Painted masks are generally used on these festive occasions.
- For Yo ceremonies, during which black masks often appear. The role of these masks is not specific and they can therefore be used for a large number of ceremonies.
Yaure (Yaoure) Statues
Small statues are made to protect and help their individual owners in difficult situations. They synthesize two concepts that belong to the Baoule people; the wife of the afterlife (called blo blo bian), and the bush spirits or ‘asi asu’. These statues are around 30cm tall and have the same characteristics as those of the Baoule. The facial traits are realistic and emphasis is placed on the head.
Everyday Yaure (Yaoure) Objects
The Yaure (Yaoure) used drums to announce the death of an important person; they also made chairs, fly-whisks…
Socio-economic Organisation and Culture of the Yaure (Yaoure)
The Yaure (Yaoure) live on the Ivory Coast, a region bordered by the Baoule to the west, the Gouro to the east, and Lake Kossou to the north.
The Yaure (Yaoure) are divided into three groups, each bringing together twenty or so villages situated in the savannah. They hunt baboons, buffalo and antelope.
Each village is led by a chief who is assisted by a council of elders.
The language, culture, and art of the region is strongly influenced by their influential neighbours, the Gouro and the Baoule. Despite this, they have a strong sense of identity and have created their own very refined form of art.