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Mask (Gela)

Arts of Africa

This very rare Sapo mask would have been used in a performance enacting a terrifying force from the forest. In a society historically without kings or centralized states, the mask may have exerted the will of village elders by imposing economic prohibitions or organizing hunting parties to provide for and protect the village.
CULTURE Sapo
MEDIUM Wood, metal, cowrie shells, bluing, kaolin, animal teeth, antelope and duiker horn, boar tusk, plant fibers, textile, mud, ceramic
DATES 20th century
DIMENSIONS 16 x 14 1/2 x 11 1/2 in. (40.6 x 36.8 x 29.2 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 2013.61.1
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J Gordon Douglas III and Dr. and Mrs Milton Gross, by exchange
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION Sapo. Mask (Gela), 20th century. Wood, metal, cowrie shells, bluing, kaolin, animal teeth, antelope and duiker horn, boar tusk, plant fibers, textile, mud, ceramic, 16 x 14 1/2 x 11 1/2 in. (40.6 x 36.8 x 29.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J Gordon Douglas III and Dr. and Mrs Milton Gross, by exchange, 2013.61.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2013.61.1_overall_PS9.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 2013.61.1_overall_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Mask with carved, wooden hands framing sides. Antelope horns extend from mask’s center and short-horned buffalo (bushcow) horns create a crown shape at top. Boar tusks, cowrie shells, and pouches are added adornments. The mask has an independently carved, articulated jaw. Blue pigment (reckitt’s blue), kaolin, and other organic material are on mask's surface.
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Sapo. <em>Mask (Gela)</em>, 20th century. Wood, metal, cowrie shells, bluing, kaolin, animal teeth, antelope and duiker horn, boar tusk, plant fibers, textile, mud, ceramic, 16 x 14 1/2 x 11 1/2 in. (40.6 x 36.8 x 29.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J Gordon Douglas III and Dr. and Mrs Milton Gross, by exchange, 2013.61.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2013.61.1_overall_PS9.jpg)