|Title||Kwele Zok Elephant Mask on Custom Stand Gabon Africa|
|Type of Object||Carving|
|Country of Origin||Gabon, Republic of Congo.|
|Approximate Age||Mid 20th Century|
|Dimensions||Height: 13.5 Inches
Width: 8.5 Inches
Depth: 6 Inches
19.5 inches tall on base; base is 6.5 inches square
|Overall Condition||fair to poor|
|Damage/Repair||weakened and scraped wood, some gouges and cracks|
Additional Information: The white face and slit eyes are unmistakable: this mask is the work of a Kwele artist. The heart shaped face is familiar, but most known Kwele pieces have a heart shaped halo around the face. This mask, however, represents an elephant, with it's long stylized trunk. The surface shows significant signs of age, and the mask is equipped with a custom stand for immediate display.
Masks such as this were rarely worn. They were kept hanging in the house. When worn, their function was to "warm up" the village atmosphere in order to activate the beneficial forces from the Bwete containers. There are two primary masks used by Beete dancers, one resembling an antelope (Ekuk) and the other a gorilla (Gon). But this mask represents a third category, the elephant mask (Zok).
The Kwele live in the northeastern of Gabon and the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville). They have produced varieties of mask used in the initiation ceremonies into the Bwete cult.The Bwete Society has social control over most activities of the Kwele, a small patrilineal group living to the east of the Fang and Kota, in the dense forests of inland Gabon.
Jean-Baptiste Bacquart, TRIBAL ARTS OF AFRICA
Louis Perrois, ART OF THE KWELE OF EQUATORIAL AFRICA