Some African masks are scary

Ivory Coast
Ivory Coast

A:  This mask was given to me by my mother-in-law who lived in the Ivory Coast from 1948 – 1993. She expressed the rarity of the mask but never explained which tribe it came from. It is 15 1/2 inches from ear tip to ear tip and 11 1/2 inches from top to bottom. My wife’s parents were great collectors of antique African art and when they gave me this mask, they intimated that it was one of the nicer pieces in their collection. Can you please try and identify where the mask came from and if it is truly rare, thanks.  Gary, 659

B: This is called a Kaogle mask and is from the We, Wobe, of Guere people of Ivory Coast, Wes Africa. You should be proud because of the family connection. You don’t see the big ears and the natural pigments much anymore. I think it may have been purchased on site from a local maskmaker, which means it might have been used in a village ceremony if it wasn’t purchased by your in laws. I say this because it looks unused and would have been antiqued if its only purpose was sales.

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