**First Time At Auction**
West Africa, Liberia or Sierra Leone, Mende people, ca. early to mid 20th C. CE. A large carved wooden mask characterized by triangular eyes, a huge forehead, a miniscule nose, and a beautiful multi-part coiffure with a slender topknot and a vertical bar of X-shaped designs. The face sits atop large integral circular rings, and the base displays a tight horizontal row of minute perforations to hold a draped costume garment. This type of mask is used by a female society within the Mende culture, on important occasions: handing down justice, attending funeral ceremonies, and going through initiation rites. In use, the masks have long costumes attached to cover the entirety of the body so that the identities of the women are not known. This example boasts a rich brown patina across the majority of exposed surfaces, and provides for a wonderful appearance. Size: 14.5" H (36.8 cm).
Provenance: ex-Nick Poolos collection, Adeon Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, USA acquired before 1970
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