Ivory Coast

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Culture of Ivory Coast

There is an amazing diversity of cultural practices and customs in the Ivory Coast, as is to be expected from such an ethnically diverse country. Côte d'Ivoire art is among the best in West Africa and is distinct to each ethnic group. The most striking art form here is the wooden carving practised by three ethnic groups – the Baoulé, the Dan (or Yacouba) and the Senoufo. Facial masks are especially exquisite, with the Baoule specializing in very realistic faces, the Dan creating slightly abstract ones, and the Senoufo masks being highly stylized. The country also has a distinctive and rich tradition of music, with its characteristic being a series of simultaneous, but not superimposing melodies and rhythms. The griot (village entertainer) was the repository of this tradition, and used local materials, such as gourds, animal skins and horns to make his instruments. One of the international doyens of reggae and revered by Rastafarians the world over, artist Alpha Blondy belongs to Côte d'Ivoire. Côte d'Ivoire also boasts renowned novelists and writers Bernard Dadié, Aké Loba and Ahmadou Kourouma.

The handicrafts of the Ivory Coast include (apart from wooden face masks, of course!), wax prints, Ghanaian kente cloth, indigo fabric and woven cloth, wooden statuettes, bead necklaces, pottery and basketware.

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