Mask, Grebo People, Liberia

Regular price $8,500.00

Grebo People, Liberia: Anthropomorphic Mask. A carved wood face combining fanciful elements of human and multiple animal attributes, crested with wild animal horns and inorganic hardened paste, highlighted with kaolin above the eyes and on the ears, with a beard of braided fiber cords and natural seed pods, mid 20th century. A custom-made steel display stand is included with the mask.

This mask shows the influence of the Guere and Wè people of Liberia and the Ivory Coast, and may have a similar meaning to the Guere and We Gela masks used in annual festivals during the dry season. 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.

This mask conveys great determination and 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: 20H x 19W x 7D; 26H on stand (inches)

Provenance: From the private collection of a Massachusetts Gentleman.