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Misi gwa so'o (Chimpanzee Mask): Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Chimpanzees are rarely featured in African art because their resemblance to humans can be unsettling. An exception are the misi gwa so'o masks of the Hemba. The exaggerated features of the half-human, half-chimpanzee mask contrast greatly with the noble and reserved ancestral figures of the classic Hemba style. The wide, open mouth and raised eyebrows were not meant to be comical, but rather fearsome and terrifying. Misi gwa so'o masks were used at funerals to symbolize the presence of death.
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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