231040 - African old Baule Elephant mask - Iv. Coast.
Iv. Coast: African Baule Elephant mask.
Height: 54 cm.
This well-carved example would have been worn during performances on the head along with a loose costume made of cotton cloth and/or grasses. Baule animal masks were used during funerals, honoring senior men and former dancers of masks and to entertain the the village during a visit of an important guest.
Though identified with the sacred forest and the men’s society, they do not appear to have a well defined religious or ritual function. However, they serve to protect the village from external danger or war. In any case, they are not to be seen by women during their appearance.
Some of the masks are blackened, while others are brightly painted with enamel paints.