This is a wonderful expressive old carved wood Bete Mask with Hammered Brass Studs from the Bete people who live along the Sassandra River in the Ivory Coast. Bete carvers are renowned for one particular type of face mask, the gre or nyabwa , which has exaggerated, grimacing distorted features, a large protruding mouth, facial protuberances, bulging forehead, elongated nose, with nostrils sometimes extending to each side of the face, and globular or bulging slit eyes set beneath a high-domed forehead carved with a medium ridge. In earlier days, this mask presided over the ceremony held when peace was restored after armed conflicts and it participated in sessions of customary justice. This type of mask was also worn to prepare men for war; the masks offered magical protection by instilling fear and terror in potential enemies. Nowadays, it is worn for a variety of ceremonies, such as funerals or during judicial proceedings and at times will dance to simply entertain clansmen and villagers. This mask was collected in the field. A truly unique and expressive Old Bete Mask to add to your collection. Show age and has a nice patina.
Late 20th Century
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