Kparagnéné Koné

Kule sculptor, ca. 1925–1993
Kolia, Côte d‘Ivoire

Kaparagnéné Koné lived and worked in the Kule carver’s quarter in Kolia located at the edge of the town. He worked with members of his extended family who were also carvers especially Ynadjo Koné, his uncle Dô Koné and his son Tianfolo Koné. During the 1970s the Koné family compound of carvers in Kolia produced works primarily for the tourist markets in Korhogo and Abidjan, however during this time they continued to carve for traditional purposes producing farmer’s staffs, birds, figures and masks.

Dancer of the Senufo-group in Kolia wearing a mask carved by Kaparagnéné Koné. Photo: Karl-Heinz Krieg, between 1963 and 1974

Kaparagnéné Koné carving in his workplace. Photo: Karl-Heinz Krieg, Kolia (Region of Boundiali, Côte d'Ivoire), 1977

Especially prominent are the body markings and depiction of jewelry on the figures. For the special red-black color that a figure was decorated with it was first covered with a red pigment made from a tree root. After the figure had dried the sculpted details such as the lips, scarification patterns and bracelets were covered with shea-nut butter. To complete the coloring of the sculpture the entire figure was covered with mud and organic materials from the bottom of a stream to give it a black color. The details previously covered with shea-nut butter were now prominent because of their red tint. To decorate the extended body length of a staff, patterns were drawn directly onto it also with the organic pigment from the stream bed.

Over an extended period, the Kule carvers of Kolia sculpted numerous figures, masks and spoons to document their individual styles.


Private notes taken in the field, Karl-Heinz Krieg

Text: Helen Krieg and Daniel Mato