Grebo Warrior Mask from Liberia West Africa


Very unusual wooden mask from the Grebo People of Liberia, thought to be a male war mask, abstract with flat features and characterized by pairs of tubular eyes. This style mask was traditionally used by leaders as a military costume to strike fear in the hearts of their enemies. Masks like this were later used in rituals reserved for initiates, during ceremonies to ward off evil and to honor warriors at their funerals.
There are several speculations referring to these arresting tubular eyes. One theory is the sets of extra eyes were designed to terrify their enemies.
When used in initiation rituals, the eyes contained the wisdom of the ancestors. They also were considered to represent separate villages within the Grebo people.

These wooden masks, with their intriguing use of black and white, were produced by the highest level initiates. This mask is 14.5 inches long, 4.5 inches wide, and 4 inches deep.

The name Grebo means 'leaping monkey people' in reference to their flight from the Sahara. They now reside in the eastern region of Liberia, West Africa where they are closely related to and influenced by their neighboring Kran and Dan-Ngere tribes. The main economy of the Grebo is the production of palm oil and palm kernels for export.

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