Shark fin shoulder mask

African, Guinea Bissau, Bidjogo peoples
20th century
Artist Unidentified


Object Place: Guinea Bissau

Dimensions

Height x width: 21 1/4 x 3 3/4 in. (54 x 9.5 cm)

Accession Number

2009.2590

Medium or Technique

Wood, paint, braided plant fiber, nails

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Masks

The Bidjogo live on the Bissagos Islands off the coast of Guinea Bissau. This shark fin appendage was worn on the shoulder and was part of a larger dance costume worn by young men being initiated into adulthood. The newly initiated warriors wore heavy costumes representing sharks, crocodiles, and other animals that posed a threat to canoes.

Provenance

1977, sold by Galerie Majestic, 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