Bamileke female mask  the helmet-shaped mask was worn on the head and the face of the dancer covered with fabric. The complete traditional vestment consists of a garment of blue and white royal cloth and a flywhisk. The mask dances in short contained steps appropriate to her noble image. "Ngoin" usually follows the leader mask in the dance sequence which includes several "ngoin" masks to complement the male human masks.  H: 39 cm

Bamileke female mask the helmet-shaped mask was worn on the head and the face of the dancer covered with fabric. The complete traditional vestment consists of a garment of blue and white royal cloth and a flywhisk. The mask dances in short contained steps appropriate to her noble image. "Ngoin" usually follows the leader mask in the dance sequence which includes several "ngoin" masks to complement the male human masks. H: 39 cm

Africa | Bamileke, Buffalo Mask, Cameroon | Buffalos, large game animals with massive bodies, were associated with power, and buffalo masks, worn on the top of the head, were an important part of every ritual dance sequence. Their rank, however, was beneath that of the leopard and elephant. | © Tim Hamill

Africa | Bamileke, Buffalo Mask, Cameroon | Buffalos, large game animals with massive bodies, were associated with power, and buffalo masks, worn on the top of the head, were an important part of every ritual dance sequence. Their rank, however, was beneath that of the leopard and elephant. | © Tim Hamill

Africa | Mask for the Idangani Society, Akish, from the Salampusa people of Lulua Province, DR Congo | Cloth, pigment, wicker and fiber | ca. early 1900s

Africa | Mask for the Idangani Society, Akish, from the Salampusa people of Lulua Province, DR Congo | Cloth, pigment, wicker and fiber | ca. early 1900s

Africa | Triple face mask from the Lega or Lengola people of DR Congo | Wood, white kaolin, encursted patina | ca. early to mid 20th century

Africa | Triple face mask from the Lega or Lengola people of DR Congo | Wood, white kaolin, encursted patina | ca. early to mid 20th century

Africa | Water Spirit mask from the Ijaw people of Nigeria | Wood, with remains of red and indigo blue pigment | The masks are always worn horizontal on the head, for the water spirits themselves hold their heads in one level with the surface of the water as well.

Africa | Water Spirit mask from the Ijaw people of Nigeria | Wood, with remains of red and indigo blue pigment | The masks are always worn horizontal on the head, for the water spirits themselves hold their heads in one level with the surface of the water as well.

Africa | Sawfish headdress from the Bidyogo people of the Bissagos Islands, Guinea Bissau | Wood, pigment and natural fiber

Africa | Sawfish headdress from the Bidyogo people of the Bissagos Islands, Guinea Bissau | Wood, pigment and natural fiber

Gelede Mask  Yoruba people, Nigeria    12 inches, painted wood    This Gelede mask is used by the Yoruba who live along the boundary between southwestern Nigeria and present day Benin (Dahomey). It shows a female with a large rounded coiffure and may reflect local traditions of facial marking and symbolic headdress, whereas this example brings to mind the beautiful and classic sculpted heads of ancient Ife. This mask was repainted and shows some signs of bright blue showing through the…

Gelede Mask Yoruba people, Nigeria 12 inches, painted wood This Gelede mask is used by the Yoruba who live along the boundary between southwestern Nigeria and present day Benin (Dahomey). It shows a female with a large rounded coiffure and may reflect local traditions of facial marking and symbolic headdress, whereas this example brings to mind the beautiful and classic sculpted heads of ancient Ife. This mask was repainted and shows some signs of bright blue showing through the…

Africa | Ceremony and Ritual face mask from the Salampasu people of DR Congo | ca. 20th century | Plant fiber ~ basket weave

Africa | Ceremony and Ritual face mask from the Salampasu people of DR Congo | ca. 20th century | Plant fiber ~ basket weave

Chokwe Cihongo Mask Ethnic group : Chokwe / Chockwe Country of origin : Angola, D.R. Congo Material : Wood, cloth, raffia, pigment

Chokwe Cihongo Mask Ethnic group : Chokwe / Chockwe Country of origin : Angola, D.R. Congo Material : Wood, cloth, raffia, pigment

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