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Currently shown

Gle Mask

Location

IVORY COAST, WESTERN REGION

Culture

Bete

Title

Gle Mask

Date

Before 1972

Materials

Wood, brass

Dimensions

29.3 x 20.8 x 19.2 cm

Credits

Ernest Gagnon Collection, gift of the Province du Canada français de la Compagnie de Jésus, inv. 1975.F.47

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

Because of its pronounced volumes and brass nails, which may refer to scarifications, this mask is generally considered as embodying the powerful spiritual forces associated with the forest. Some researchers suggest that the bulge connecting the temples is inspired by the horns of certain masks made by the Wee, a people who neighbour the Bete. This mask was worn during ceremonies to combat negative forces. However, it is very difficult to identify the exact function of masks made by the Bete or the Wee when they are divorced from their performance contexts. In fact, their function and status changes in accordance with costume, choreography and musical accompaniment, as well as their history, since some masks are passed down from generation to generation.

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