An uncommon Mask, Bassa peoples, Liberia
Estimated age: Early 20th century,
Wood, Stained black surface .
Height = 22 cm. 29 cm on the included metal stand.
Provenance: Estate Nadya Levi (1929-2021), a sculptor who collected African Art and lived in Antwerp. She got the Bassa masks from Paolo Morigi in Lugano during the 1970’s, who collected them in Liberia during the Biafra war.
Although this mask is the senior entertainment mask of the men’s No association, it emphasizes desirable traits for women to emulate through its graceful, smooth dance style.
It was not worn in front of the dancer’s face but was attached to a basket like frame that was concealed by the costume and fully covered the dancer’s head. The wearer looked out from under the mask through openings in the costume.