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|Guere mask, Ivory Coast and Liberia
9.5" tall x 7.5" wide / 24.1 cm tall x 19 cm wide
wood, plant fiber, nails, cloth, pigment
mid 20th century
ex UK collection
Often described as 'war' masks because of their fearsome appearance, these masks were worn primarily during funerals and in a detective capacity to
single out guilty persons and were referred to as 'judgement masks'. The white on the eyes was not painted over on this example, even though the
mask does have several layers of old paint across the eyes, so it retained its supernatural ability to detect witch magic, evil, etc. The jaw is not
articulated as seen on some (but not all) judgement masks, so it could find bad things and accuse, but may not have been able to render judgement.
This might especially be true because the mouth is filled with fabric on this example.