Global Art & Artifacts

Masks!

Masks and Headgear

Marka Mask. Bamana Kingdom / People. Marka Tribe. Mali. Africa

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 The over 2 million Bamana people form the largest ethnic group in Mali and occupy the savannah in the central portion of the country. The Bamana (aka Bambara) kingdom was founded in the 17th Century and reached their height of power in the mid- to late-1700s. The Marka… Continue reading

Phenomenal Bronze Garuda Mask. Hinduism. Buddhism. Deity. Tibet. Nepal.

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  The mythical deity – Garuda – has a ton of spiritual significance in Hinduism and Buddhism. In Hinduism, Garuda is most often found mounted on the back of Vishnu, as the god’s protector. Here the Garuda – with a snake in its beak – symbolizes the… Continue reading

Wooden Wall Mask. Yawn. Artist signed. Bali. Indonesia.

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  I have run across a few of these “yawn” masks over the last few years and have not been impressed. But this one is different. This is an artisan’s stunning interpretation of what is supposed to be a satisfying gesture. But with the wrinkled forehead, flared… Continue reading

Vintage Balinese Rangda Mask. Mythology. Durga. Bali.

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  Rangda – a dramatic manifestation of the Goddess of the Underworld, Durga – is the demon queen of the Leyaks. Leyaks are spirit/ghost-like figures in Bali that appear as humans during the daylight but – at night – their head and entrails break off from their bodies… Continue reading

Dan Poro Ceremonial Mask. Wood. Spiritual realm. Secret Society. Wood. Liberia. Africa

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The Dan people – an ethnolinguistic grouping – has presence in the mountainous areas of Côte d’Ivoire and adjacent areas of Liberia. This particular mask is from Liberia and specifically used by the Poro . . . a secret society where only males are admitted. As… Continue reading

Extra Fine Senufo Kepeli-yehe Mask. Bronze. Stand. Korhogo. Côte d’Ivoire Ivory Coast. Africa

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  The Senufo people – numbering between 1 to 1.5 million and aka Siena, Senefo, Sene, Senoufo, and Syénambélé – is a West African ethno-linguistic group consisting of diverse subgroups. Their masks are varied with a range of materials. By far the most profound and valuable are… Continue reading

Chieftain Face Mask. Bena Lulua People. Lulua River. DRC / Zaire

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  The Lulua people – who migrated from western Africa – are made up of small regional chiefdoms. They in turn often elect a common leader . . . a village chief. Masks – like this one – are used in rituals and ceremonies related to agriculture,… Continue reading

Rare Bamun Brass Sheathing Mask. Bamileke People. Cameroon. Africa

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  Sharing stylistic traits with the Bamileke, Tikar and other Western Grassland Cameroon tribes, this particular mask illustrates the complexity of the transfer of styles… through migration and various artists’ interpretations… even as far back as the migrations of the 17th Century. That is what makes this mask… Continue reading

Wayang Gedog Performance Mask. Indonesian Religious Rituals. Wood. Ceremonials. Bali. Indonesia.

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 Not to be confused with the Wayang Topeng mask used in a dramatic form of dance performances, this mask was used in performances and stories about the kingdom of Janggala . . . about a love story between a prince and princess. Obviously not used by the… Continue reading

Mid-1900 Suku Horned Helmet Mask. Yaka Influence. DRC. Congo. Africa

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 One of the most complex and intriguing Suku mask that I have every seen! The Suku (aka Basuku) are people from SW Congo and Northwest Angola. They speak a derivation of the Bantu language of the Niger-Congo group of languages. Suku women cultivate a root vegetable… Continue reading
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