Liberia, finely carved, with glossy surface. Copper and aluminum additions. Fine incising around the perimeter. Beaded earrings. height 11 1/2in
Exhibited: Governors State University, IL, 2003 Krannert Art Museum, IL, 2003 Belger Art Foundation/University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, 2004 Tall Grass Art Association, IL, 2005
Published: Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.32, fig.73
Masks of the Dan and neighboring peoples of Liberia and Ivory Coast served many purposes in both sacred and non-sacred contexts in village life. Many masks were made to use in the Poro initiatory society in Liberia; the basic function of the institution being the initiation of youths into manhood, and to utilize masks to frighten the uninitiated. Though not all used by the Poro society, such masks are from diverse cultural groups. The Loma examples show a clearly geometricized concept of the human face, while the more naturalistic Mano and Gio Masks almost approach portraiture.