Established in the Bissagos archipelago composed of about thirty islands located off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, the Bijogo sculpt figures of ancestors such as these rather similar statuettes. The faces are streaked with scarifications under pointed miter-type headdresses. They have a command baton held under the breasts, and a raffia skirt.
Dark black patina. Desication cracks.
The masks named vaca bruto in Portuguese Creole were displayed on the prows of warlords' boats. It was indeed Portuguese sailors who introduced the animal to the archipelago in the 15th century.
Other zoomorphic masks are produced, some related to aquatic fauna, and statues embodying divinities, with triangular faces, named iran which have an apotropaic function and are placed under cover in shrines.
Sources: "Animal masks of black Africa" ed. Sepia; "African Masks" ed. Adam Biro.
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