Ancient African mask hand carved in wood. There seems to be dried mud inside. It belonged to my great grandmother. I would like to know its origins and meaning as I have always been intrigued by this artifact.
30cm x 20cm
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Based on the images and information you provided, this item is:
A Baule Mask, from most likely 19th century. This mask is a remarkable artifact that encapsulates the artistic prowess and cultural significance of the Baule people of West Africa. Carved with precision and adorned with intricate detailing, this mask serves as a powerful representation of the spiritual and ceremonial practices within Baule culture. The specific dimensions and features may vary, but the mask typically exhibits a harmonious blend of geometric patterns and realistic elements.
Crafted from materials such as wood and often adorned with additional materials like beads or metal, the Baule Mask showcases the artistic skills of Baule carvers, who were known for their ability to create pieces with both aesthetic and ritualistic value. The mask's design may include features such as a finely carved face, elaborate coiffure, and stylized facial expressions, each element contributing to the overall symbolic meaning.
The age of the mask, dating back to the 19th century, adds a layer of historical depth to its significance. During this time, Baule society was characterized by a complex system of spiritual beliefs and rituals, with masks playing a central role in ceremonies such as funerals, initiations, and harvest celebrations. The wear and patina on the mask may bear witness to the passage of time, enhancing its authenticity and cultural value.
Good condition overall