African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Wé Mask
Wé Guéré Mask (N° 19806)
Various excrescences give this warrior's mask, which is supposed to provoke fear, a fantastic aspect. In the center, small holes make up the eyes. The satin patina on which partially flaked residues agglomerate is magnified by the brilliance of golden highlights.
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The Wé produced African masks that are the result of interlocking stylistic forms. The Dan , in the north, and the Wé of the south (the Krou group including the Guéré , the Wobé of the northeast, and the Wé of Liberia called Kran or Khran), made use of frequent borrowing due to their proximity. The elements of the bush, protruding volumes of the forehead, horns and fangs, zoomorphic jaw in some cases evoking the gaping mouth of an animal creature, are associated with human features marking the duality of the divine .
Before the 1960s, the masks, whose elaboration was inspired by the visits of spirits during dreams, accompanied most activities such as war, dance, singing, and hunting. Each of these masks had a name associated with its function. It remained the property of the dancer's lineage.
This mask would embody a fearsome spirit, a supernatural power, that of the forest. It would appear equipped with numerous accessories, during night outings, lit by the light of torches.
The Wé were also renowned for their knowledge of plants for therapeutic purposes.
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