Provenance: Ex collection Philip Goldman, London

Bete masks, particularly older examples, are fairly rare in the corpus of African art. Masks of this type, characterized by bold volumes, projecting forms, and brass tacks studding the surface, are believed to embody powerful spiritual forces associated with the forest. Bete masks perform in a variety of contexts, including the settlement of disputes, communication of moral messages, and warfare.

Bété, Ivory coast, West Africa
Wood, beginning of 20th century. 36 x 36 cm. Nice patina.