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War Mask, We / Guere People, Ivory Coast

Regular price $1,800.00

We / Guere People, Ivory Coast: Gelle Mask, commonly referred to as a Guere War Mask. Wild animal horns and cloth over carved wood, mid 20th century. The mask has a heavy patina from libations. A custom-made steel display stand is included with the mask.

The Guere and Wè people of Liberia and the Ivory Coast have annual festivals during the dry season, which lasts from November to February. These festivals feature dancing and performances focused on the figure of the gela, which is embodied in the animated being comprised of face mask, costume, and the wearer beneath.

The mask seems to erupt in horns and tusks, and conveys great energy. Gela can use their power and strength for both destructive and beneficial ends. Older gela are thought to be able to cause thunder and foul weather. However, Any gela can be called upon to reconcile problems within a community.

Guere and We villages are surrounded by the bush, and the people have a reverence for the forest. Both peoples are known as healers, with skilled use of forest plants with medicinal value. These same plants provide leaves that are pounded, mixed with water, and applied to the gela mask in a ritual of activation, imbuing it with the spiritual power and vital energy of the forest.

Dimensions: Approx. 17H x 10.5W x 14D; 32H on stand (inches)

Provenance: From the private collection of a Massachusetts Gentleman.