Africa

Kwele mask from Gabon

Q: Please help me to get more information of this mask that I bought in Africa. I want to know it’s origin and it’s value. Adalberto, 1655

A: Despite its appearance this Kwele mask was probably made to be sold. Kwele masks (also called a Pibibuze) are used by the Bwete association, which maintains social order, and were primarily seen at funerals. They are also used in ceremonies to promote well-being and community.

In recent years, some do not have eye slits and are shown to onlookers rather than worn at dance ceremonies. The masks are considered to be among the most beautiful in African art when they have not been heavily aged like this one. Despite its old appearance, this mask was probably made to be sold. Of course, I can not be 100% sure by looking at the 72 dpi scans. How much did you pay for it? B-

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