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Ox Mask (Dugn'be)

Arts of Africa

Masks representing dugn’be, meaning “the ox raised in the village,” are used in young men’s initiation ceremonies in the Bijagós Islands, on the Atlantic coast of Guinea-Bissau. The cord that runs through the nostrils of this mask shows that the initiate is like a tethered ox. His strengths, like those of the ox, must be both encouraged and controlled.
MEDIUM Wood, raffia, bone, glass, metal, fur, paint, fiber
DATES 20th century
DIMENSIONS 15 1/2 x 19 x 9in. (39.4 x 48.3 x 22.9cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Gerofsky
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Wooden buffalo helmet mask in two pieces: head and neck attached by series of raffia ties which span holes around perimeter of each piece. Head: bone animal horns extend and curve out from sides of head; in back of head, below level of horns, a band projects out at sides with triangular tips painted white and red representing ears; large projecting glass eyes circumscribed by raised bands of fur nailed to surface; muzzle area and recessed triangle at center of forehead accentuated with white paint; string inserted through holes in nostrils wraps around to back of head. Neck: spiralling ridged surfaces. CONDITION: Generally good. Fur attachments around eyes worn. Deep cracks extending from perimeter at either side of head.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Bijagó. Ox Mask (Dugn'be), 20th century. Wood, raffia, bone, glass, metal, fur, paint, fiber, 15 1/2 x 19 x 9in. (39.4 x 48.3 x 22.9cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Gerofsky, 1992.69.3. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1992.69.3_transp499.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1992.69.3_transp499.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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