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Bête Mask


An Artist’s Collection VOL.1
Ivory Coast, West Africa 
20th century, wood, tacks, nails, natural pigment, & animal hide, custom stand
10″ x 6″ x 5″          
ex Private Florida collection 
Additional photos available upon request
The Bête’s concept of respect for social rules in their village are carried over to their respect for aggressive and hostile nature spirits they believe Gre masks embody. The people who wear the masks are viewed as protective agents that represent the spiritual forces. Distorted features like facial protuberances, horned heads, bulging forehead, and tubular eyes create the grimacing face Gre masks are known for. They are designed to provoke terror through embodying wild animals. The Bete use the term “gre” to describe terror, hence the name gre mask. Emphasis on a an animals strength and ferocity, giving it power to expel evil forces and disease through masked dance performances.
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