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Warlike Guere/We mask

Ivory Coast, West Africa

Ivory Coast, West Africa

Q:  Here’s a wooden mask that my father acquired in Ivory Coast somewhere around 1975. It’s probably from the Guiglo region, in the southwest of the country. He bought it from someone there, and I’m very curious about its originality and possibly if you know anything more about its function or meaning. As a frequent visitor of your website and mask enthusiast/collector I was hoping you might be able to tell me something more about it!   Sven, 781

A: The Guere people (also called the We) are the dominant ethnic group in that area. (more…)


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Marka style Kore mask

aaaMystrySolvd-772Q:  I got this mask at a flea market about a year and a half ago and am very curious about it.  It is wood with hammered metal overlaying it, with real animal hair. I tried searching through your site to see if there was anything like it.  Anything you could tell me about it would be awesome. Tamara, 772

A:  It’s a Kore mask from the Marka people of Mali, West Africa. (more…)


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Kuba Bwoom helmet mask

DRC, Central Africa

DRC, Central Africa

Q:  I have a mask that is displayed in my office.  I am attempting to figure out if it has any value, and if so, who to target to sell the item.  I have a sneaking suspicion that is a basic tourist mask, but I would like to be sure.  The mask was purchased by the previous business owner who left it with the building.  Unfortunately, I know nothing about it’s origin or even where it was purchased.  Danielle, 770

A:  The mask in your office is called a Bwoom and is from the Kuba people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in central Africa. (more…)


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Mask from the Congo

with injured lip

with injured lip

Q:  I found this mask yesterday at a thrift store here in Maryland. I think it’s African and possibly from the Chokwe people. Would you be so kind as to take a look at the attached photos and let me know. It’s 7″ L (9″ including the hanging material) and 4 1/2″ W at the widest section. The nails are rusted, and the cloth around the top and side is worn. But, of course, that may not mean very much regarding age and a “tourist” sale. If you’re unable to help, would you let me know as soon as possible so I can seek another source? Incidentally, it looks like someone tried to repair a break in the lip area. Perhaps that’s why the mask ended up in the thrift store.  Carole, 767

A:  It might be Chokwe, but I think it could also be from another tribe in central Africa– formerly Zaire and now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (more…)


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Decorative Guro mask

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast

Q:  I purchased this mask I believe in 1998 from a gallery (now closed) in Beverly Hills, CA called “Mozambique by Design.” At the time a certificate of authenticity and some history was provided in paperwork, but it has since been misplaced. I believe this is an ivory coast mask made of wood.  Do you have any further details on it? The mask wasn’t cheap when I bought it!  William, 765

A: This is a decorative Guro mask from Ivory Coast, far away from Mozambique. For a number of years skilled Guro carvers have been making beautiful and very creative pieces like this for the collector market.  (more…)


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Art of the Fang people

Ivory Coast, West Africa

Ivory Coast, West Africa

Q:  I bought this mask at Marrakesh, in a shop full of articles of South-Saharian Africa: Benin bronzes, Dogon windows, Igbo, Fang or Punu masks… even some python or leopard skins. I bought this one at the same time I bought a fang mask but I don’t know who made this one.  Josema, 764

A:  It seems to be a Fang also, but simply and quickly made. The design is great… and I think most collectors would enjoy seeing it on their wall. It looks so West African.  (more…)


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Toma Poro Society mask

West Africa

West Africa

Q:  Bought with a lot of PNG material, but seems not to fit with them. 14 inches long. I’m mostly interested in masks from Oceania and Europe.  Kim, 759

A:  At first I did not recognize this mask, but I now realize it is a very simple version of the well-known masks used for boys participating in initiation rituals of the Poro Society throughout the Toma ethnic group located in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. (more…)


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Rough Guro antelope mask

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast

Q:  What do you think of this hand carved work of African primitive art? Its modeled to depict a horned face with cut out openings at the eyes and has a warm patina. It is hardwood,18 inches tall, slightly cracked and chipped.   756

A:  I think it is African, perhaps an antelope mask from the Guro people of Ivory Coast. (more…)


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Have you seen this?

African metal headdress

African metal headdress

Q:  Does anyone know anything about this mask? It’s brass or bronze with an old patina and appears to have been worn over some kind of cloth headdress. Its believed to have come from the Mossi people of Burkina Faso and was bought from a “runner” about twenty-five years ago. It’s about 9 1/2 inches high. Any information will be greatly appreciated.  Gary, 751

A:  A week ago this was posted on the Yahoo discussion group, African_Arts. It was promptly answered with “It is a Lobi Headdress.” (more…)


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Bete war mask

Ivory Coast, Africa

Ivory Coast, Africa

Q:  I bought this mask at the Tucson Gem Show African Pavilion about 7 years ago. I don’t remember where it came from, or if I was ever told. I think I paid $140.00 for it.  It is one of three of my favorite masks.  Ira, 750

A:  It doesn’t matter a whole lot what it is or how much you paid, if you really like it. (more…)


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