African art > Mask > Guéré Mask
Bété / Guéré Mask (N° 17133)
African mask carved in dense wood. Supposed to cause dread, it mainly has horns that meet frontally (the end of one of them is missing). The look of bleached bulbous eyelids is complemented by tubular elements forming a second pair of eyes, while the upper part evokes a helmet encrusted with tapestry nails.
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The Bété use masks linked to the cult of the bagnon in western Côte d'Ivoire. The style of their dance masks was influenced by the Wobé and Guéré peoples, a group referred to Wé or 'the men who readily forgive', itself belonging to the cultural group Krou , these traditions having been passed on to them and taught by the Nyabwa. Of warlike origin but also involved in the resolution of conflicts, this sacred mask is worn accompanied by amulets that protect its wearer from its power from witchcraft. It is in order to strengthen its power through the exercise of customary justice that these masks are made available to the chief. 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 traits marking the duality of the divine.
Brilliant black brown inpatine, polychrome highlights.
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