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Highlights: African Art

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Image of Maskette (Ma Go)

Bassa Peoples

Maskette (Ma Go)

20th century

Object Type: Sculpture
6 5/8 x 4 x 2 5/8 in. (16.83 x 10.16 x 6.67 cm)
Medium and Support: Wood and pigment
Accession Number: 2013.0017.0006

Credit Line: Gift of Dileep and Martha Mehta

Miniature masks often mimic the appearance of larger masks, some of which are associated with specific families. They draw power from the larger masks and they are invested with their own special magic.
The peculiar shape of this mask, sometimes called a “quarter-moon construction,” was determined by the way it was worn—not on the face, but fastened obliquely to a basket worn over the head. The holes rimming this mask may have been used to attach fabric or natural fibers to it. The distinctive carved hairdo is characteristic of Bassa masks from this region of Liberia.

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