We-Guere Mask from Africa

Guere Mask from the Ivory Coast can be very frighting. They are worn to terrify their enemy when at war. The Guere share many aspects of culture with the neighboring Dan tribe. They created masks that were used during festivities, funerals, rituals, wars, and that look rather scary and monstrous. The art of Guere people is stylistically connected to the Dan and both groups are often collectively referred to as We, meaning “men who easily forgive.” Like the Dan, the We use a wide variety of masquerades, which hold important regulatory position within their small, egalitarian communities. Masks are owned by families and used by individual lineage members in contexts of social control, boy’s circumcision camps, and entertainment. These masks were created to frighten with the gaping jaws, metal teeth, spiky beards and weird tubular eyes. Some collectors won’t put them on there walls.

One Comment

  • Eric

    A great mask – however it is a misconception that they were ever used in war… they were used in a judiciary role to settle disputes amongst individuals, and as visual aids during moral lessons, and as forms of entertainment.

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