Bete people, Cote d'Ivoire, Africa: Anthropomorphic Gre mask, its strong abstracted facial features are adorned with a beard of bells and beads. Brown/black patina, hand carved wood, Late 19th/ early 20th century. The mask comes with a custom-made wood and steel display stand.
The people who wear the masks are viewed as protective agents that represent the spiritual forces. Gre masks are known for their distorted features like facial protuberances, horned heads, bulging forehead, and tubular eyes. They are designed to provoke terror through embodying wild animals. This mask, based on a human face, also has the tusks of a wild boar.
In masked dance performances, emphasis on a an animals strength and ferocity are evoked, giving the masked dancer power to expel evil forces and disease.