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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Gere Wooden Polychrome Mask
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Gere Wooden Polychrome Mask - PF.4987
Origin: Western Ivory Coast
Circa: 1900 AD to 1930 AD
Dimensions: 12.5" (31.8cm) high x 10.75" (27.3cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood/Hair/Paint

Location: United States
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Through dreams a person acquires the gift of the sculptor's art. And through dreams the Gle, or forest spirit, appears in full form to male initiates, telling them of the type of mask they wish made for their appearance on earth. The initiate then informs the village elders the details of the mask; and it is they, the old venerables who decide whether it should be made and who should make it. The finished product, as in the case of this remarkable mask, is the result of wisdom, skill and inspiration.

Though paint was a European import, the African artist uses it to great advantage. The features of this mask seem to explode from the face; with rocket shaped eyes, protruding forehead, disc- shaped cheeks and large, fat lips. A shocking red band across the nose is not only dramatic, but serves to draw attention to the black pupils. Two white bands down the middle of each jowl add a vertical element to the mask's otherwise horizontal construction. There is an extraordinary sense of joy and amusement from this mask, as if the spirit who inspired it came to earth for the sake of laughter and fun.
- (PF.4987)


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