African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kru mask
Kru mask (N° 20688)
African tribal art from the Ivory Coast and its fantastic masks.
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Protruding tubular pupils, indicating gifts of divination, and a gaping, pouting mouth distinguish the face of this Kru , or Krou , mask topped with a fan-shaped crest. Tiny zoomorphic ears stand out on either side of the headdress. The grainy beige patina is enhanced with polychrome touches.
The Kru are divided into twenty-four subgroups of which the Grebo, settled in southern Liberia and southwestern Côte d'Ivoire, are a part. Their leader is the bodio, who lives reclusively.Unlike most of the populations of West Africa, they are not subject to the Poro society. Their masks with tubular outgrowths are said to be of oubi origin, and may symbolize the mythical creatures that inhabit the forests on the banks of the Cavally, which the people address through ritual ceremonies. The interest of cubist painters and modern sculptors in the abstract forms of the Grebo mask could be read in some of their works, such as Picasso's 1914 metal guitar.
source: "Treasures of the Ivory Coast. F.Neyt"; "Ivorian Sculptures" B. Holas.
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