Lot: 160

97th Auction

Anthropomorphic face mask "mblo"

Côte d'Ivoire, Baule

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
French Private Collection H: 14.6 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, remains of red and black paint, kaolin, base

The term "mblo" is used to describe dance performances that are performed in times of stress, social anxiety or political reversals, to bring relief and entertainment to the community. "Mblo" dances also take place at funerals of high-ranking members of the community - in this case, the dance performances are called "gbagba".

"Mblo" performers wear portrait masks and their dances imitate the behaviour of a particular person they represent. Important members of the community are honoured, caricatured or even criticised in this way. "Mblo" masks are considered to be, in a sense, an "artistic double" of the person depicted. Masks that are carved in the likeness of a woman are called "ndoma".