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Banda Mask

This large vertical mask combines features of a human face and those of either a crocodile or shark with teeth bared. It has the tail of a chameleon and the horns and ears of an antelope, as well as features of less identifiable animals.

Worn on top of the head, the multi-colored mask is attached to a long, dense skirt of vegetal fibers that covers the body of the wearer. Banda masks are the property of the Simo society, a secret men's association overseeing and regularing fertility and initiation ceremonies. The masks are performed at initiations, harvest celebrations, and other auspicious festivals.

Catalogue Description:
Mask, Banda type, anthropomorphic face, large nose, series of 2 crests up middle of forehead, upper one largest, bisects domed cranium, ridged horns extend up and curve slightly inward from above animal-like ears, an open work spiral - starting from back of head - loops around a long ovoid ring starting also above ears. Mouth is cut with teeth both sides, but this is covered by a piece of sheet metal cut open in herring-bone-like pattern. Surfaces are decorated with geometric motifs or stylized designs representing human features, in sunk or raised relief, and incising also used. Mask polychromed white, red, blue, black.


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