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Mask (Von Gla)

Arts of Africa

This mask combines many diverse materials to create an image of power. Multiple eyes, warthog tusks, large teeth, and other power symbols such as rifle casings and a beard of authentic and wooden leopard’s teeth form a fierce countenance that frightens away negative forces.
CULTURE We
MEDIUM Wood, metal, fur, fiber, hair, leopard’s teeth, pigment
DATES late 19th or early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 18 x 15 3/4 x 6 in. (45.7 x 40 x 15.2 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 75.189.4
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. Gordon Douglas III
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION We. Mask (Von Gla), late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, metal, fur, fiber, hair, leopard’s teeth, pigment, 18 x 15 3/4 x 6 in. (45.7 x 40 x 15.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. Gordon Douglas III, 75.189.4. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 75.189.4_PS1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 75.189.4_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The face mask, which appears to represent a bush spirit, contains animal and human composits. It has two protruding winglike ears and two sets of eyes: one castenet shaped; the other tubular. Its large open mouth contains a tongue covered with cloth, metal teeth, and on each side, a boar's tusk. Strung around the rim of the mask are ivory teeth, wooden pieces, nails, rope, raffia fiber, cloth and hair. White pigment has been applied to parts of the mask. The mask's condition is fragile. Pigment is missing in some areas and flaking in others; cloth attachments are worn and fragile.
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