Mask

We peoples
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified


Object Place: Liberia or Cote d'Ivoire

Dimensions

Overall: 24.5 x 14 x 12.5 cm (9 5/8 x 5 1/2 x 4 15/16 in.)

Accession Number

2009.2706

Medium or Technique

Wood, raffia, cloth, metal, nails

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Sculpture

The angular forms and fierce expression of Wè masks can be striking - this threatening male mask with tubular cheeks, projecting eyes and gaping mouth with metal teeth give it a ferocious expression. Narrow slits below the sharply delineated forehead would barely allow the wearer to see his surroundings. During special events, young men put on these masks and headdresses, donned fiber skirts and transformed themselves into otherworldly beings, performing songs and dances.

Inscription

round white label inside back: "2"; red plastic label inside back: "83"; round pink label written in ink, partially obscured by red label: "...B"

Provenance

1960s, sold by an unidentified African merchant, Paris, to Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart