Festival Masks

Dan wooden mask. Western Africa, George W. Harley Collection. PM 37-77-50/2817
Dan wooden mask, c. 1930s. Wood and metal. Liberia, George W. Harley Collection. PM 37-77-50-2706
Liberian mask. George W. Harley Collection. PM 48-36-50/7373
Liberian mask. George W. Harley Collection. PM 40-34-50/4584
Liberian mask with headdress, side view. George W. Harley Collection. PM 48-36-50/7345
Liberian mask with headdress, frontal view. George W. Harley Collection. PM 48-36-50/7345
Liberian black mask with metal studs, George W. Harley Collection. PM 48-36-50/7354

In the dense forest region surrounding Canton Bo, various ethnic communities organize post-harvest festivals using facemasks similar in form to those illustrated in this exhibition. The masks are usually obscured by other costume elements in performance. By contrast, showing these bare facemasks, collected mainly from the Mano and Dan peoples in the early 1930s, reveals the variety of facial forms created to fill the roles of warrior, singer/dancer, adult, and sacred spirit maskers.

Collected by George W. Harley