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Kpelle Bassa Mask Geh-Naw Liberia Sierra Leone African Art

Product #: 76949
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Title Kpelle Bassa Mask Geh-Naw Liberia Sierra Leone African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Liberia and Sierra Leone
People Kpelle or Bassa
Materials Wood, pigment, vegetal fibers
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions 16 inches H. x 9.5 inches W.
Overall Condition Fair to Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair General wear, chips and scratches

Additional Information:

This large  mask  with the remain of its costume in vegetal fibers is tentatively attributed to the Bass but it could come from the Dan or Kpelle and used for social control. The Bassa live along the coastal region of Liberia sharing many of the men s Poro and the women' Sande secret and initiatory societies found among the Dan and Kpelle neighbors. The Geh-naw mask dances in graceful and feminine movements to accompany the boys when they return to their village after having been initiated into the men s society. It will also appear for holidays and to honor important visitors to the village. The mask is worn on the forehead and the body is covered by a cloth costume.

Recommended Reading:

For similar examples, and more information, see ART OF AFRICA by Kerchache et al.

I have examined this piece and agree with the description

Niangi Batulukisi, Ph.D.