Lot: 234

87th Tribal Art Auction

Zoomorphic helmet mask "bonu amwin"

Côte d'Ivoire, Baule

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Kegel-Konietzko, Hamburg, Germany H: 23.2 inch 1000 EUR
plus 21 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, polychrome paint, exceptional detail: crowned by large ears instead of horns, handwritten collection label "D94 K77/87 172-12" on the back, missing parts, cracks, traces of insect caused damage, paint rubbed off. "Bonu amwin" means "god of the woods". This mask of high authority belongs to the "do" secret society. This mask was greatly feared, it was a powerful force for averting harm and maintaining order in the community. Each village had at least one. Women were rigorously excluded from all performances and were not permitted to see the mask. Should a woman see one even by accident, it was said, she is doomed to die.