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    Description

    BAULE, Ivory Coast
    Heddle Pulley

    Wood, pigment

    Weaving is done by men in many West African groups, including the Baule. Weavers work outside, sitting in open cage-like structures made of poles. Long warp (vertical) threads run over a moveable pulley hung from the top of the weaver's cage and trail out, away from it to be secured on a wood sledge, weighted down with a heavy rock to keep the warp threads under tension as the weaver pulls up more of them, over the pulley, as needed. With his feet, the weaver pulls cords attached to structures that separate warp threads alternately to make "sheds," through which he sends his shuttle back and forth carrying the weft, or horizontal threads. The result is a strip of cloth 4 to 6 inches wide. Pieces of this narrow strip of cloth can be sewn together to form a complete cloth of whatever length and width is desired. Such cloth is also easy to maintain: if a strip is damaged, it can simply be removed and the remaining strips sewn back together.

    This well-carved heddle pulley with a fine black surface lacks the roller over which the warp threads would have been pulled, though marks of its rotation are clearly to be seen on the insides of the pulley's legs. As is usual, the pulley is carved in hard wood, with a figurative top by which it would have been secured to the loom frame, facing the weaver. Here, a human face is surmounted by bush cow horns. Whatever their decoration, these secular objects were of private significance to the weaver who owned and used them. Today, most of them have been replaced with metal pulley's that are serviceable but lack aesthetic value.

    Provenance:
    From the Estate of Liz Claiborne and Arthur Ortenberg

    Read more about the Liz Claiborne and Arthur Ortenberg Collection here.


    Sotheby's, Important Tribal Art, May 5, 1997, lot 260

    Height: 5 ΒΌ inches


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    July, 2016
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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