Heart shaped Mask - Wood - Kwele - Gabon - Asian African Art
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Heart shaped Mask – Wood – Kwele – Gabon


Lot details
Object: Heart shaped Mask
Ethnic group/ culture: Kwele
Region/ country:Gabon
Period: mid 20th century
Condition: Good condition, used with some signs of wear
Sold with stand: No
Dimensions: 32×32×6 cm
Weight:  650 g

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Heart shaped Mask – Wood – Kwele – Gabon
mid 20th century – Good condition, used with some signs of wear
The Kwele use several types of masks in ceremonies to promote harmonious interaction and group solidarity. Kwele masks, many with heart-shaped face, are among the most beautiful forms of African art.

Known in the literature as a mask depicting the head of a ram, this type shows a central heartshaped face encircled entirely by horns that run all around it to meet at the chin. On the upper part of each of the two horns, a simplified pair of eyes is engraved. The mask itself has a nice and deep case to enclose and hide the face of the dancer. Such masks, named buoobkuk or face of a forest spirit, were danced by members of a local chapter of the Bwiti society in the culthouse of the village. These dance sessions were organized to honour the spirits of the bush, seeking thereby their support and protection for the activities of the community, especially in the hunt.

Provenance: former private collection from Belgium. Collected in the period 1953 – 1959 (More details provided to buyer).
Sold with a certificate of authenticity.