E3W7M619S.jpg (34285 bytes)E3W7M619.jpg (24966 bytes)We (Gere, Guere, Guere Wobe, Wee), Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire

Chimpanzee mask. The art of Guere and Wobe people is stylistically connected and both groups are often collectively referred to as We, meaning "men who easily forgive." Like the Dan, the We use a wide variety of masquerades, which hold important regulatory position within their small, egalitarian communities. Masks are owned by families and used by individual lineage members in contexts of social control, boy’s circumcision camps, and entertainment. The mask characterized by bulging cheeks and triangular eyes are known as chimpanzee mask and represents a chimpanzee forest spirit. The masks carried out important social control functions, including judicial decisions, law enforcement, criminal punishment, fine collection, and dispute settlement. They were also used in contexts of boy’s circumcision camps, and entertainment. Their aggressive performance was intended to instruct the people in proper behavior. Today, under changed social conditions, the masks are used for entertainment.

Material: wood, leather, tacks

Size: 17½”x5½”x6”