Ynadjo Koné

Kule carver, ca. 1900–1984
Kolia, Côte d‘Ivoire

Ynadjo 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 his brother Dô Koné and his son Kparagnéné 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. The two senior carvers, Ynadjo Koné and Dô Koné learned to sculpt from their father who himself was a Kule carver who originally came from a village in the vicinity of Mbengué, a town northeast of Kolia. Before they returned to their family in Kolia, Ynadjo Koné and Dô Koné worked in a number of other villages. Ynadjo Koné worked for a long period in the village of Ganaoni close by Nafoun and Dô Koné in Ponondougou and later in the south in Kombolokoura and Languédougou. Although they worked in different locations their carving style was very similar in Kolia. 

Karl-Heinz Krieg with Laminé Coulibaly, his translator (right holding staff). They are with Ynadjo Koné in his workshop in Kolia discussing staffs, masks and carvings Photo: Hermann Becker, Kolia (Region of Boundiali, Côte d'Ivoire), 1981

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 and those 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.

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

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


Mother-and-child figure
Ynadjo Koné
Kolia (Region of Boundiali, Côte d'Ivoire)
Carved in 1976 for Karl-Heinz Krieg
Wood, H. 88 cm



Private notes taken in the field, Karl-Heinz Krieg

Text: Helen Krieg and Daniel Mato, PhD