Bassa (Basa), Liberia
Geh-naw ceremonial mask. The Bassa territory lies in the middle of present-day Liberia.
Their economy is based on rice which they cultivate around small villages with the
population around two hundred. The Bassa have several female and male
societies. Their economy is based on rice which they cultivate around small villages with
the population around two hundred. Bassa artistic tradition has been influenced by their
northeastern neighbors, the Dan. With graceful, gliding dances the geh-naw masqueraders
entertain the spectators when initiated boys return from bush camp, when important guests
visit the village, and on other festive occasions. The dancer wears the mask, which is
attached to a woven framework, on his forehead, and looks through the slit in the fabric,
which is part of the costume that covers his head and upper body. Because the masks are
fixed on a framework, the interior of most such masks shows no signs of wear.