African art > Mask > Bété Mask
Big Bété Mask (N° 14867)
This imposing African mask, supposed to cause dread, is carved from dense wood and has mainly a nose extending from horns. Four orifices form the eye, while the upper part, evoking a helmet, combines hoops and a zoomorphic crest. It is mainly in western Côte d'Ivoire that the Bété use masks related to the cult of the bagnon. The style of their dance masks was influenced by the peoples Wobé and Guéré , an ensemble called Wé or "men who easily forgive ", itself belonging to the cultural group Krou , these traditions having been passed down to them and taught to them by the Nyabwa. Of warlike origin but also involved in the resolution of conflicts, this sacred mask is worn with amulets that protect its wearer from its power against witchcraft. It is in order to strengthen his power through the exercise of customary justice that these masks are made available to the chief.
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