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Bidjogo Saw Fish Mask


An Artist’s Collection VOL.1
Guinea – Bissau, West Africa
20th century wood, pigment, chord, custom stand
23″ x 18″ x 4″
ex Patrick and Ondine Mestdagh Gallery 
Additional photos available upon request
The masks of Bidjogo people such as this one, were used during the young men’s initiation process. These typically referred to land and aquatic animals. The dangerous ones like the sawfish, were worn by strong and mature men. The masks were symbolic of the need to dominate the bestial side living in every non-initiated being . The extreme stylization of the sawfish’s head represented with a simple triangle, the use of coloured pigments and low relief sculpture allows us to see the wild animal.
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