War Mask - Wood, Fabric, nails, kaolin - Côte d'Ivoire

War Mask - Wood, Fabric, nails, kaolin - Côte d'Ivoire
2nd half 20th century - Good

Beautiful "Monkey" war mask from the Grebo ethnic group located in the western part of Ivory Coast bordering Liberia.

"Grebo" means "jumping monkey people", a reference to their flight from a former homeland near the Sahara.

The culture of Grebo, a little-known ethnic group that inhabits the coastal region of eastern Liberia and the neighbouring forests, has been shaped considerably by their northern neighbours, the Kran and Dan.

The Grebo masks are the seat of the invisible spirits residing in the forest.

All the masks feature the typical solution adopted by African artists and codified in the figurative tradition of the Grebo: that consists in the use of simple but strong strokes and stylized and harmonic lines (such as the representation of the eyes, which are figured out with cylindrical reliefs instead of holes).
The art of the Grebo influenced Picasso in several of his works.

Grebo sculpts different types of masks: they appear during the rituals reserved for initiates and at the time of festive occasions, when the entire population is able to see them.

War masks, on the other hand, are mainly designed to terrorize; they appear during battles, before dances and at the funerals of warriors.

Lot details
War Mask
Region/ country
Côte d'Ivoire
Fabric, nails, kaolin, Wood
2nd half 20th century
Sold with stand
41×28×15 cm
1500 g
Not registered yet?
By creating your free Catawiki account, you’ll be able to bid on any of our 50,000 special objects up for auction every week.
or Sign in