Facial mask with horns Kwele, North-eastern Gabon H 33cm Wood, black pigment, kaolin
The black and white faceted horns are an echo of the heart-shaped face.White colour is a symbol of clarity and of light, essential elements in the struggle against witchcraft.The face is characteristic of the kwele style:a
slightly cup-shaped face and eyes in projection stretched to the
external edge of the mask. Only some masks, as it is the case of this
one, is endowed with slits at the level of eyes assuring the vision of
the dancer (more often they are simply displayed during the celebrations, and
therefore devoid of orifices).
rare masks kwele (northeast ethnic group of the Gabon) are linked to
the bwete cult, rituals of which are intended to move the wizards away.They also serve for the lifting of mourning and initiatory celebrations.Incarnation
of protective geniuses of the forest, they carry animal or human
features, or sometimes combination of these two forms.
The signification of masks with human face and horns bent back is unaware:they were interpreted as representations of antelopes or of ram, but the cosmogony underlying these forms is not clearly identified.
contrast between colours, the black lines according to curve of horns
and the echo between the archs of the eyebrows and the curves of the eyes confer to this mask all its
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