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HOME : African & Tribal Art : African Masks : African Art / Ivorian Wooden Polychrome Mask
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African Art / Ivorian Wooden Polychrome Mask - PF.4755
Origin: Ivory Coast
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 9.25" (23.5cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Wood and Paint

Location: United States
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By means of masks, the unseen spirit-powers, assumed to be sacred, are brought into the visible world. In this sense, the mask is an implement or device used to attract desirable spirits and repel malicious ones, principally through dance rituals. This remarkable mask is unique in two aspects: the use of colored paint in green, white and black; and the two snakes on either side of the face. The snakes act as a decorative border, framing the intense features of the face, while adding their own dramatic quality. Every element is intended to heighten the impact, with the colored head band complimented by a similar effect of the teeth and lips, and the perfectly balanced scarification on the left cheek painted green. The snakes suggest this mask was involved in fertility rites, since the serpent was associated with the male sex organ and fertility-fecundity cults. This mask is a stunning example of a culture whose roots go back centuries; and still flourishes with as much mystery, magic and wonder as ever. - (PF.4755)


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