The original collector of the mask as well as the first marketer are unknown. The mask is made of wood and is in good condition. The mask shows significant signs of wear: (a) The front and top of the beak are discolored, (b) The bells and metal rings are heavily patinated, (c) The raffia holes are vertically abraded, (d) The inside surface that was rubbed by the wearer's face is discolored, (e) The raffia that was used to repair cracks in the mask is discolored on its inside surface.
19" tall by 7" wide
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Based on the images and information you provided, this item is:
A Guéré Bird Mask, 20th century. Carved from wood, this mask is a distinctive example of African tribal artistry, specifically designed for ceremonial and ritualistic purposes. Despite showing significant signs of wear, its condition tells a story of cultural significance and the passage of time.
The discolored front and top of the beak indicate prolonged use and handling, suggesting that the mask has been an integral part of various ceremonies and rituals within the community. The patination on the bells and metal rings signifies their age and continuous use, adding a layer of authenticity to the mask's history.
The vertically abraded raffia holes provide evidence of the mask being adorned with raffia, a common practice in many African cultures. The wear on these holes suggests not only the mask's aesthetic function but also its role in dynamic and active ceremonial performances.
The inside surface, discolored from contact with the wearer's face, reveals the intimate connection between the mask and the individual who donned it during ceremonies. This wear is a testament to the lived experiences and cultural practices associated with the mask.
Furthermore, the discolored raffia used for repairing cracks and the inside surface of the raffia demonstrate the effort made to preserve and maintain the mask over time. This type of repair work, evident in the discoloration of the raffia, highlights the cultural importance placed on the longevity and continued use of such artifacts within the community.
Very good condition