Mask

Mask

c. 1930s

Wood and paint

Overall: 71.2 cm (28 1/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1972.2

Location

Fun Fact

This capital depicts a struggle between the good lion and the evil basilisk, a legendary reptile from myth. While the artist would not have encountered the mythical serpent, it is likely he never saw a real lion either based on its cartoonish appearance in this sculpture.

Description

The closely spaced, painted grooves on the kifwebe mask accentuate the contours of the mask itself. The colors are mixed with sacred substances that activate the mask and help induce the wearer to enter a state of being between human and spirit. The theme of transformation may be inherent in the form of the mask itself, which recalls, in an abstracted way, some of the distinctive traits of the chameleon -- a supreme symbol of transformative power.

See also
Collection: 
African Art
Department: 
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Mask

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.