Tribal art > African mask > Low Masque
Low Masque (N° 17103)
This rare mask, named Gela , Geh-Naw , of Liberia's Bassa ethnic group, a talisman mask, has a crusty agglomerate on top, imprisoning magical-purpose elements, twigs, metal, textiles and other materials. The triangular chin, curved forward, is lined with metal slats, echoing the inlays that enhance the mouth. The lines and scarifications, dug in the wood, are coated with white clay.
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The Liberia's Bassa group is based in the coastal region, particularly around Grand-Bassa. Its culture and artistic production have been influenced by the Dan and the neighbouring Kpellé, who are Mandé-speaking. The Bassa have women's and men's initiation societies, including the chu-den-zo that gave birth to this type of sculptural work. The mask geh-naw , or gela , was on the dancer's forehead, attached to a wicker frame, accompanied by fabrics concealing the wearer, and evolved into a graceful dance to mark the end of the initiation of young boys. They are worn today at ceremonies welcoming distinguished visitors.
Sources: " Africanmasques, Ed. Adam biro, and "The Soul of Africa, 9-0022 S.Diakonoff
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Material(s)||wood, metal, textile|
|Estimated dating||1ère halfxx°|
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