Wood, nice patina, paint, cloth, hair, powerful and aggressive mask, swollen eyes with small see slits, large open mouth, distorted features that blend animal and human elements, attached carved sticks around the perimeter representing leopard teeth, horns, tufts of hair on each side of the face.
Among the Wee of Ivory Coast and Liberia masquerades are essential to social control.
Gela masks consist of distorted features that blend animal and human elements. Wee believe Gela can use their power and strength for both destructive and beneficial ends. The feral aspect of the Gela acts as a counterexample to humans, who are, by contrast, encouraged to embrace order and civilization. It is believed the Gela can gather up the ill will and negative feelings plaguing a community and deposit them back into the forest, where the untamed forces of nature prevail. The forest plays a central role in the lives of the Wee, whose villages are surrounded by the bush. The Wee are known as healers using forest plants with medicinal value skillfully. These same plants provide leaves that are pounded, mixed with water, and applied to the gela mask in a ritual of “activation“. The mask is, thus, invested with the spiritual power and vital energy of the forest.
Signs of use.
H: 49,5 cm (19 ½ inch).
For additional information please contact S.A. Gallery.
Regional & Ethnic Antiques