Goli (Entertainment Mask)

Kple Kple (Junior Male)

By: Adenike Cosgrove Tagged:


The Baule of modern day Ivory Coast perform a number of dances for village entertainment; one such performance is known as goli. A recent import from the Wan ethnic group (believed to come into use among the Baule after 1910), goli is a day long celebration usually performed during the funeral of high ranking and respected community members. Sources point to the goli dance providing not only entertainment but also protection for the village in which it is performed.

Baule goli performances consist of four red/black, male/female dance mask pairs appearing in a pre-defined order. According to Susan Vogel, the masks appear in the following social order:

  • First, a pair of disk masks called kple kple (the junior male; representing youth and weakness),
  • Second, a pair of animal helmet masks called goli glin (the 'father' or ancestors; representing strength, amwim bush spirits and forest buffalo),
  • Third, a pair of horned masks called kpan pre (the junior female; representing girls),
  • and Fourth, two human-faced masks with crested coiffure called kpwan (the senior female, representing goli glin's wife, the ideal woman).

Kple Kple (also called kplekple), the first set of masks to appear during goli celebrations, represent the junior male society and are used to announce the arrival of goli glin and kpwan. Worn by young boys, kple kple dances are said to be one of the easiest to perform; the masqueraders chase boys and girls around the village and perform lively dances to music. When not in use, goli masks are kept in the bush.

Distinguishing Features

  • High degree of stylisation and minimal detail
  • Vary in height - from less than 15 inches to more than 40 inches
  • Horns on top of face
    • Horns are spiral in some cases
  • Circular disc-shaped face
  • Conical eyes
  • Triangular holes sometimes carved under eyes
  • Some have engraved teardrops around eyes
  • Some have:
    • Ears
    • Eyes inset with bits of mirror
  • Rectangular mouth
  • Carved teeth
  • Male masks painted black (kplekple yaswa); female masks are black (kplekple bla)

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