Elephant Mask

Elephant Mask

early 1900s

Cotton, leather, beads

Overall: 139.7 x 50.8 x 19.1 cm (55 x 20 x 7 1/2 in.)

The Harold T. Clark Educational Extension Fund 1985.1082



The name given to masks like this, mbap mteng, means "animal with huge ears." In the Cameroon grassfields the elephant signifies power, authority, prestige, and leadership. The colorful glass beads that decorate the mask’s surface were imported from Venice and Bohemia and signal wealth and prosperity. Such elephant masks were worn by members of an exclusive male secret society in ritual dances and funerary ceremonies.

See also

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.