W2K9M987.jpg (30448 bytes)Kwele (Bakwele, Bakouele, Bekwil, Ebaa, Kouele), Gabon, Cameroon, Republic of Congo

Gon Mask. The Kwele are a fairly small group of forest people. They occupy a forest region on the borders of Gabon, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo. Like other peoples in the region, the Kwele formerly drew on the power of  the relics of the dead for the benefit of the living, a practice they called beete. Beete was considered medicine for an ailing people. Relics were called upon in times of crisis, such as epidemic, famine, multiple deaths of great men or women. The gon masker darkened his body with charcoal and wore a minimal loin covering of mongoose skin. In his hands he held five javelins. His attendants controlled him and held him back by means of a rope around his waist. Gon ran around the village throwing his spears at anything in sight, trying to kill loose animals. He was considered antisocial, acting the role of a leader of war.

Material: wood

Size: H. 17”, W. 11”, D. 8”



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