Africa

Perfect reproduction of Tsogo mask

Q: Since you were talking about African masks, I would like to show you this one I bought from a collector some years ago. He sold me it as Tsogo, but I’m not sure if it’s Tosgo or Igbo. Previously I thought it was original but now, as I’ve been attending your site, I’m not that sure. Could you help me please? Monica, 1526

A: Your mask almost looks like an authentic Tsogo. The carver must be very skillful and well trained to make a reproduction that looks so old and used.

This is what one of the best tribal art dealers (Hamill) has to say about a similar mask that they listed for $500. “Tsogo masks are controlled by the Bwiti men’s initiation society. The masks represent a supernatural being and each type has its own name and symbolism. They are used in initiation ceremonies and share the kaolin white surface with their Gabon neighbors, the Fang, Punu and Kwele. Despite its appearance, this Tsogo mask shows no evidence of age or use and was probably made to be sold.”

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