By K Weitzmann
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Despite the variety of mask themes, they maintain common features within the style. The crocodile mask sculpted with a long jaw is a typical artistic convention. These masks are worn by dancers in ceremonies that protect the community from the malevolent inﬂuences of slain crocodiles. The long-jawed crocodile mask is thought to protect people from the bad ﬂuids that may emanate from a slain crocodile. In many equatorial tribes, however, a crocodile is believed to be symbolic of a treacherous, evil spirit.
The Chi Wara headpiece doesn’t have a human face. It consists of an antelope ﬁgure or a complex composition in which the central place is occupied by the stylized head of an antelope, with horns and mane emphasized. Sometimes the top consists only of an antelope head with long straight horns. The sculpture is often supported by a small wooden plinth attached to a woven basket worn on the head of the performer and fastened with a belt under the chin. Western Sudan 37 The antelope is portrayed in various forms, some conventional and others stylized.
33: Mask (Baule, Ivory Coast). Wood, kaolin, height 91⁄2 in. 1 cm). Fig. 33 C3 Fig. 37 Fig. 44 Fig. 42 Fig. 37: Family Couple with Children (Baule, Ivory Coast). Wood, beads, height 141⁄2 in. 8 cm). Fig. 42: Rare Divination Mask for Healing (Igbo, Nigeria). Wood, metal, glass, red pigment, height 113⁄4 in. 8 cm). Fig. 44: Memorial Figure of Seated King (Igbo, Nigeria). Wood, kaolin, white, black and red pigments, height 455⁄8 in. (116 cm). C4 Fig. 45 Fig. 49 Fig. 48 Fig. 50 Fig. 45: Distorted Mask (Ibibio, Nigeria).
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