Wooden Passport Mask
Bassa tribe, Liberia, early 20th c.
PROVENANCE: Acquired by Drs. Jean and Noble Endicott, New York, from Tom Phillips, London. Inventory numbers painted on the back read TP32.

Many tribes in Liberia made small replicas of larger masks, for personal use. These small masks are generally referred to as 'Passport Masks', emphasizing their use as proof of belonging to a particular village. Many are associated with initiation rites or symbolic of personal spirit protectors. This particular mask is a great example of how individualistic these masks are. The fine carving of the mask takes on an almost portrait like quality; the coiffure is beautifully rendered and facial scarring is clearly depicted, trailing down from the forehead to the tip of the nose. The surface of the mask is very old and oxidized and there is a small loss to the upper portion of the face, emphasizing its use as a personal object.

Height: 5.25 in. high.
IN 9-6-13 / SOLD