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1000664We masks were designed to appear ferocious. They were used during war councils, in order to establish contact with the spirits. We masks were designed to appear ferocious. They were used during war councils, in order to...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition_portrait/public/multimedia/2008.4.350_a_0.jpg?itok=BTnQvjatLe Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
13282000Each mask was unique and heavily adorned with a variety of elements representing a distinct entity (singer, beggar, warrior...).Each mask was unique and heavily adorned with a variety of elements representing a distinct entity...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition/public/multimedia/2008.4.350_b_0.jpg?itok=c0jCFc5GLe Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
13282000These masks were feared and their wearers held the power to declare wars, but they would also clown around, triggering laughter amongst the crowd.These masks were feared and their wearers held the power to declare wars, but they would also clown...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition/public/multimedia/2008.4.350_c_0.jpg?itok=GYFGTsb4Le Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
13282000Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition/public/multimedia/2008.4.350_d.jpg?itok=-DdIFtoJLe Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen
13282000This remarkable specimen from the Museum's collections is extremely rare, notably because it has kept all its attributes : a beard made from animal skin, feathers on the forehead, pigments, metal teeth and fabric in the mouth, emphasising its ferocious aspect. This remarkable specimen from the Museum's collections is extremely rare, notably because it has...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition/public/multimedia/2008.4.350_e.jpg?itok=LZhXyBz6Le Havre Museum of Natural History – Photo credit : C. Livonnen

 

Ivorian We mask

 

  • Origin : Ivory Coast

  • Ethnic group : We

  • Date : 19th century or early 20th century

  • Materials : wood, animal skin and fur, feathers, metal sheets, fabric, natural pigments, laundry blue

  • Dimensions : 23 cm x 31.5 cm

  • Inventory number : 2008.4.350

  • Donated by Mrs. Amiel, General Henri Amiel's widow, 1976

 

 

We masks were designed to appear ferocious. They were used during war councils, in order to establish contact with the spirits.

Each mask was unique and heavily adorned with a variety of elements representing a distinct entity (singer, beggar, warrior...).

These masks were feared and their wearers held the power to declare wars, but they would also clown around, triggering laughter amongst the crowd.

This remarkable specimen from the Museum's collections is extremely rare, notably because it has kept all its attributes : a beard made from animal skin, feathers on the forehead, pigments, metal teeth and fabric in the mouth, emphasising its ferocious aspect. Very few We masks remain with all these elements. Until the 20th century, only the wooden frame of the mask was kept by collectors.

 

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