Guere Kwi Mask
The Guere, neighbours of the Dan people, make masks for similar purposes but usually of a form that is more ugly or scary than Dan masks. They are used for rituals, education and social control and to appear frightening to enemies.
Approx Age: 1950-60
Materials: wood, plant fibre, animal hair, bullet shells etc
Dimensions cm: 36 x 31
Ref. Number: 1874
A very imposing and powerful Guere mask from Liberia. Adorned with bells, material, animal hair, plant fibre, bullet casings, wood spikes and metal teeth, this has had plenty of wear and has also been replenished with a coat of paint or two in its lifetime.
Provenance: Ex-Private Irish collection.
The Guere people, often also called the Wé and the Wobe, are the ethnic group inhabiting parts of the Ivory Coast and Liberia. Guere masks as a rule are heavily adorned with all sorts of items, medicine pouches, wooden spikes, bells, bronze items, bullet shells, material, etc, all such paraphernalia were thought to reinforce the power of the masks. All of this accounts for their identification as war masks but according to some researchers, they are worn primarily during funerals and, in a detective capacity, to single out guilty persons in a judicial capacity.
Masks of the We people are also employed in the settlement of disputes and in ceremonies that convey moral messages. Due to their strong, distorted features which uniquely combine human and animal forms, are frequently added miscellaneous objects and materials to increase their spiritual power.
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