Saturday, June 20, 2009

Baobab Bedu Costume

Bedu occupies a border zone between savannah and forest. It is cut from the trees of both climatic zones and is made in the bush by the men of the village.

The mask is sculpted from the upper part of the roots of the Kapok tree, the largest forest tree of the region. The costume is made of bark taken from the Baobab tree, which has become the symbol of the African savannah.

By removing the log of wood or the "quilt" of bark, neither the Kapok nor the Baobab tree are "killed", they are merely "wounded". Such "hunting" terminology is often used in connection with sculpting Bedu or making its costume.

Hunting tools such as traps, machetes, guns, and bullets are traditionally manufactured by blacksmiths, who are highly valued for providing the tools (adze, chisel, machete) necessary for catching (sculpting) the "wild animal" (Bedu) or for hunting "toads" (Baobab bark) to "feed" (clothe) the animal.

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