Arts of Africa
On View: Great Hall, South, 1st floor
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.
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) (show scale)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J Gordon Douglas III and Dr. and Mrs Milton Gross, by exchange
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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)
overall, 2013.61.1_overall_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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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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