African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Wobe mask
Wobe mask (N° 16389)
This example is reminiscent of African Dan masks, but its features are more accentuated. Granular particles of kaolin form a wolf that covers the eyes and encompasses the nose. With scattered teeth protruding from thick lips, a braid and a beard made of natural fibers, he would embody a fearsome spirit, a supernatural power, that of the forest. He would appear equipped with numerous accessories, during night outings, illuminated by the light of torches.
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The Wé produced African masks that are the result of interlocking stylistic forms. The Dan , in the north, and the Wé of the south ( Krou group including the Guéré , the Wobé of the northeast, and the Wé of Liberia called Kran or Khran), made use of frequent borrowing due to their proximity. The elements of the bush, protruding volumes of the forehead,,horns and fangs, zoomorphic jaw in some cases evoking the gaping maw of an animal creature, are associated with human features marking the duality of the divine.
Before the 1960s, the masks, whose elaboration was inspired by the visits of spirits during dreams, accompanied most activities such as war, dance, singing, and hunting. Each of these masks had a name associated with its function. It remained the property of the dancer's lineage.
The Wé were also renowned for their knowledge of plants for therapeutic purposes.
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|Material(s)||wood, plant fibre|
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