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Mask: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
This mask, representing an ancestor or ideal woman, is a classic example of the Yombe artistic style, with a smooth surface and naturalistic form and detail. Originally the mask would have been more colorful, as traces of pigment on the mask reveal. The entire face was painted white, the color of power or the supernatural, and the lips were red, giving a more lifelike appearance. The mouth is drawn back into a smile to show the carefully filed teeth, a sign of beauty amongst the Yombe. The black hat signifies the high status of the person or ancestor represented. This mask probably would have been worn in ritual dances associated with fertility and invoking powerful female spirits.
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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009