African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bété mask
Nyabwa Bete warrior mask (N° 21493)
A tangle of disparate horns for this face mask of the Bete/Guéré ethnic group. A strip of hardened canvas hides the base. The whole is coated with a crusty film where dark pigments are mixed. Fangs appear between the horns. At the top, a magical charge has been slipped into a canvas bag.
It is mainly in the west of the Ivory Coast that the Bété employ masks whose style has been influenced by the gla mask society of the Wobé and Guéré populations, group called Wé or "men who forgive easily", itself belonging to the cultural group Krou , these traditions having been transmitted and taught to them by the Nyabwa .
Of warlike origin but also participating in the resolution of conflicts, this sacred mask is worn accompanied by amulets that protect its wearer from its power against witchcraft. It is in order to reinforce its power through the exercise of customary justice that these masks are made available to the chief.
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