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Currently shown

Mblo Portrait Mask

Location

CÔTE D’IVOIRE, CENTRAL REGION

Culture

Baule

Title

Mblo Portrait Mask

Date

Late 19th-early 20th c.

Materials

Wood

Dimensions

25.8 x 12.5 x 7.8 cm

Credits

Gift of Gerald Benjamin, inv. 2008.189

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

Mblo portrait masks are amongst the Baule’s most refined forms of sculpture. This type of mask was used in the final sequence of dances that culminated in a tribute to an important member of the group, for whom the mask served as a double. It was generally worn by a man to honour the dance and the beauty of a woman related to him. The broad forehead and downcast eyes were classic features associated with the intellect and respect. Such masks therefore represented a personality rather than a portrait based on physical resemblance.

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