T2B9M373.jpg (55716 bytes)Bete, Cote d’Ivoire

War mask. The Bete are an agricultural group who live in relatively major villages in southwestern part of the country. They grow what is needed for a subsistence economy and also have linked to the market economy and much of their effort is devoted to the cultivation of cacao and coffee. They place particular importance on the hunt. Religion, omnipresent in Bete life, aims to maintain a harmonious relationship between nature and the ancestors who are responsible for the welfare of the tribe. Only the western Bete are known to have a masking tradition. To overcome hostile forces that hunters encounter in the underbrush and forests, their masks offer magical protection by instilling fear and terror in potential enemies. Masqueraders perform during burials, at the end of the mourning period, or in honor of important people. Sometimes they or one of their attendants carries a lance. This weapon possibly points to the mask’s original function – that of a war mask.

Material: wood, tacks

Size: 11”x7”x5”

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