African art > Mask > Bété Mask
Glé Bété facial mask (N° 11822)
Ex-collection French African art.
The Bété are a people of farmers based on the left bank of the Sassandra River in the south-west of the Ivory Coast. Their almost non-existent statuary of African tribal art gives way to African masks particularly striking in their forms and volumes.
These masks introduced by the Niabwa were carved in order to provoke psychological conditions conducive to rituals. Each of them had a secret name and materialized the powers of the forest. At the disposal of the chef, they were exhibited during funeral ceremonies or on the occasion of the great feasts of meetings between several villages.
Once he was a mask of war and had the mission of preparing men for battle. This mask is equipped with horns turning over the mouth like the spider's paws on its prey. After the armed conflicts, this mask presided over peace-building ceremonies and customary justice sessions. The protruding forehead is studded on the periphery above one of the two bulges returning to the face. If in our case two tubular elements on either side of the nose make us think of the masks of The Grebo, the models of the Masks Bété were mainly inspired by the Wé.