Tribal art > African mask > Bidjogo mask
Bidjogo bull mask (N° 21673)
Mask with horns, it comes from the Bidjogo, established in the Bissagos archipelago composed of about thirty islands located off the coast of Guinea-Bissau. A burgundy patina enhances this mask representing a bovine head supported by a massive neck. The mask is worn before or at the end of initiation ceremonies by a young initiate, the "cabaro", who bends and rears his head, conveying the idea of a vigorous but still untamed young animal, and the need to go through the initiation process in order to acquire discipline and mastery. This type of masks appear nowadays for entertainment parties and on the occasion of the passage of distinguished visitors. These masks called vaca bruto in Portuguese Creole were displayed on the prow of the ships of the warlords. It was Portuguese sailors who introduced the animal to the archipelago in the 15th century. This population cultivates rice in the swampy regions, and also ensures its subsistence from fishing. Other zoomorphic masks are produced, some in connection with aquatic fauna, and statues incarnating deities, with triangular faces, called iran which have an apotropaic function and are placed in sanctuaries.
Sources: "Animal masks of Black Africa" Sepia ed.; "African masks" Adam Biro ed.
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