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Guere mask, Ivory Coast and Liberia
12"/30.5cm tall (including attachments)
wood, cloth, animal fur, pigment
70's - 80's
ex private US collection


Often described as "war" masks because of their
fearsome appearance, these masks were worn
primarily during funerals and in a detective capacity
to single out guilty persons and were referred to as
"judgement masks". The white on the eyes was not
painted over, so it retained its supernatural ability to
detect witch magic, evil, etc. The jaw is not
articulated as seen on some (but not all) judgment
masks,  so it could find bad things (accuse) but may
or may not have been able to render judgment.