The Wé people are long known by other names (Guere, Wobe, Kran), the Wé live on the border of Liberia and Ivory Coast.
Origin: Ivery Coast/Liberia
Approx Age: 1950s
Materials: wood, hair, fur, metal and material.
Dimensions cm: 25 x 16 not including adornments
Ref. Number: 1872
An absolutely sublime Guere mask from the Ivory Coast/Liberia border, A very sharp detail of colouring and heavily adorned with hair and animal fur, most possibly a wild cat. There are also material adornments to the head of the mask and plaits from the chin area and metal teeth.
Provenance: Ex- Cooper Evans, New York.
Among Dan and Guere (Ngere, Wé, Wobe, Gere) peoples of Liberia and Ivory Coast, ancestor masks with generic features act as intermediaries for transmitting petitions or offerings of respect to the gods. These traditional ancestral emissaries exert social control over the community through their spiritual power.
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.
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.
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