This is a Janus reliquary guardian figure from the Gabonese Republic of West Africa. It would have been used by the Kota people in the mid-19th century. It is actually a piece of sculpture, but people who collect African masks always love them. It is made of wood, copper, brass, iron, cowrie shell and measures 23 × 12 × 5 in. This is a promised gift to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is from Terry and Lionel Bell in honor of the museum’s 50th anniversary.
I recently visited LACMA and saw this beautiful piece in their “50 for 50” show which is a wonderful mix of all kinds of art. They also have several permanent collections of important ethnographic categories that I’m sure my readers would enjoy if their ever in Los Angeles. In my humble opinion, LACMA is one of the best art museums in the USA! 824