Masks

Used through-out Africa the mask is a large part of the tribal tradition and way of life. Varying in style, composition and importance the masks are made and used by tribes for similar reasons. These reasons or occasion ranging from joyful in the celebration of harvest, sorrow as in a funeral procession, serious when land may be threatened by drought conditions, or even serious when tribes feel the need to ward off evil spirit.

Masks play a very important part in the lives of the young when they come of age and enter into the adult world. Above all, masks are used in ceremonies where wisdom and experience of the elders is passed down to the younger generation. Where these ceremonies take place masks may be used that represent many things: their ancestors, good and evil spirits, dangerous bush and water spirits or even illness.

Masks are made from many different materials ranging from woven fibre, cane framed skin masks, cloth and wood. Predominantly wooden masks are made from one piece of wood and will cover the wearers face or whole of the head. They can be painted either very plainly in one colour or very vibrantly with a variety of colour. Adornments can also be added in the form of cowrie shells, glass beads, plant fibers, raffia and even material that would then completely hide the wearer. Whether a mask depicts a human styled face or a representation of an animal form of which there are many elephant, antelope, hyena, monkey, leopard, crocodile, fish, bird or snake to name a few they are all unique to their particular tribe.

Carvers of the mask are true craftsmen and produce real beautiful works of art to uphold their ceremonies and tribal traditions.

Dogon Yagule Mask

Yagule masks are also know as Peul/Bede. Bede being a slightly different variation on the Yagule mask. Also being known as Jeune fille translated to Young girl. Dancers that wear these masks usually perform the dance whilst wearing stilts.

Dogon Dyodyodune Mask

Dogon Dyodyodune masks like many of other Dogon masks vary in style from village to village and region but all have the same use and meaning.

Dan Go Gé Mask

The border between Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia cuts across several ethnic groups, including the Dan, Wee, Kran, and Grebo. In Dan society, dangerous immaterial forest spirits are translated into the forms of human face masks.

Angas Abrus Seed Mask

These masks are uncommon and until very recently they were identified as being from the Koro people of Nigeria. The red abrus seeds (Abrus precatorius) which are very poisonous, were meticulously threaded and attached to the plant fibre structure in rows forming a wonderful overall visual.

Baule Goli Glin Helmet Mask

This mask constitutes the second in a series of four masks still performed as entertainment by the Baule peoples of central Côte d’Ivoire. The dance series is known as Goli, and this mask as Goli Glin.

Senufo Wanyugo Firespitter Mask

The Senufo Wanyugo mask (double headed) is worn in various ceremonies of the village, during the initiation of the new generation, also during funerals to drive away evil spirits before the ceremony

Dan Beikpangle Mask and Costume (SOLD)

This Dan Beikpan gle mask and costume was collected from Beyouin in Cote D'ivoire, it is used in masquerades for rejoicing and celebrating a good agricultural year and a symbol of wealth and peace.

Kuba Mukyeem Mask

Over twenty types of masks are used among the Kuba, with meanings and functions that vary from group to group. Kuba wooden helmet masks are probably the most commonly produced items, popular with the collectors.

Lwena Pwevo Mask

In female initiation ceremonies this mask represents the ideal young woman, Mwana Pwevo also called Pwo. She acts as a role model by speaking gracefully and displaying gentle manners. In public performances, women escort Mwana Pwevo to the centre of their village, where the head of the village receives her ceremonially.

Dogon Walu Mask (RESERVED)

Antelope masks, among the most popular Dogon masks, are admired by the Dogon for their beauty and the strength of their performance. The face of the mask is usually a rectangular box, like that of the sim mask, but in this example the artist has completely opened up the face, eliminating the two channels for the eyes and adding a short, arrow-shaped nose.

Dogon Dananna Hunters Mask

PROVENANCE: Ex Seward Kennedy Collection. dannana aggressively hunts another masquerader, the rabbit, but fails to catch him. The rabbit in this context is the trickster, intelligent and cunning, able to defy man. The pairing of hunter and rabbit may refer to the myth recounting how the first hunter mask was created.

Bamana Ntomo Mask (RESERVED)

PROVENANCE: Ex Seward Kennedy Collection. The Bamana Ntomo masks were worn by boys as they passed through the early cycle of initiation into manhood. The masks reinforce the lessons the boys are taught as they are prepared by elder males in the society for circumcision.

Bete Nyabwa Mask

The Bete people also known as Magwe, Tsien, Bokya and Kpwe; are ancient hunting, patriarchal, hard-working agricultural and culturally unique ethnic group that forms a subset of the larger Kru-speaking people residing in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Liberia.

Dogon Crocodile Mask (RESERVED)

The crocodile is a sacred animal within the Dogon tribe and it was believed to have led the Dogon people to water during their mythical journey across Africa. The Dogon were on their way to their current homeland, which is called “Falaise de Bandiagara.”

Dogon Kelemo Jene Mask (RESERVED)

These masks are quite rare compared to the more common "Walu" antelope mask to which the Kelemo Jene mask is often confused with. Although there are similarities the Walu has two horns whereas the Kelemo Jene has 4 - 7 horns.

Dogon Kanaga Mask

The "Kanaga" mask can be interpreted in different ways: crocodile, creator genius, but also "bird in flight". According to the latter interpretation it represents the bird "kommolo tebu" with spread wings and black and white plumage, when after its shooting the hunter carved the first "kanaga".

Dogon Bird Mask (RESERVED)

Dogon art is extremely versatile, although common stylistic characteristics – such as a tendency towards stylization – are apparent on the statues. Their art deals with the myths whose complex ensemble regulates the life of the individual.

Dan Guere Luwesegle Mask (SOLD)

Luwesegle is the villagers give this mask, which means "bush ghost mask". This mask is bought out during ceremonies for every generation's celebration to chase / drive evil spirits away and purify the village.

Dogon Sim Kalama Nangala Mask (SOLD)

A beautiful piece of Dogon art from before 1950, this is known as a Dogon Sim Kalama Nangala mask. Dogon masks such as this Sim mask are worn primarily at commemorative rituals for Dogon men.

Dogon Lesiga Mask (RESERVED)

The Dogon Lesiga mask is quite similar to the larger "Sirige" mask but danced differently, and with different meaning. This is a later 20th century piece, The large Dogon Lesiga mask is one of the 80 + masks that the Dogon use but are less seen, this particular mask is native to the Bamako region and worn at festivities and ceremonies during the festive periods.

Dogon Sim Kalama Nangala Mask (SOLD)

The Sim mask usually appears as one of many different types of masks during a funerary ritual known as dama. This ritual takes place several years after the initial burial, so that the elaborate and costly preparations for it can be made.

Dogon Buffalo Mask (SOLD)

A rare charismatic Dogon Buffalo mask from the Plateau de Bandiagara. White tipped horns and centre of the face, iron rings around the ears and the back of the mask is bound with a strong plant fibre / wicker. The sides of the mask towards the back (where you put your face) is worn from dance adornments rubbing during ceremonial use.

Baule Elephant Mask Glao or Klolo (SOLD)

A fine and old example of a Baule elephant mask Glao or Klolo. The Chief of a Baule village in Bouake who sold us this piece says that the Baule elephant mask is a symbol of the Ivory Coast and that this mask comes out at the beginning of any large village ceremony to purify the village and bring peace and abundance of happiness.

Dan Guere Poyagle Mask (RESERVED)

A superb and very rare Dan Guere Poyagle mask collected from a small remote village west of Bangolo in Cote D'ivoire (Ivory Coast). This is such a rare piece even to where it is native as this mask only comes out every 10 years to cast out a blessing over the village and to drive away evil spirits that cause famine, endemic disease and drought.

Bwa Kobiay Mask (SOLD)

A stunning and rare Bwa Kobiay mask from the Bwa people of Burkina Faso.

Bembe Janus Helmet Mask Kalunga

Known as Kalunga, this barrel-shaped mask of the Bembe is said to embody forest spirits

Dan Stilt Dancer Mask (Reserved)

A stunning mask field collected from a village near a town called "Man".

Bobo Molo Mask (RESERVED)

A very old Bobo Molo mask from Burkina Faso, These fantastic masks are used in the kwele dwo, dwosa, and sibe dwos cults, molo and nwenke masks are the oldest and most sacred works...