Yaure Wooden Antelope Face Mask - PF.5585
Origin: Central Ivory Coast
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 14.25" (36.2cm) high x 5.75" (14.6cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Yaure
Medium: Wood


This mask belonged to the male society responsible for performing various rituals that maintained social stability and political order. With the aid of such a mask, the people hoped to influence supernatural powers, or yu, an extremely dangerous spirit that can harm humans; but can also ensure their survival. The spirit is represented as a human face with the horns and ears of an antelope. Stylistically derived from the Yohure tribe, this carving is typical of Yaure artwork that so influenced early 20th Century painters like Modigliani and Picasso: the arching brow flows into the thin nose, the mouth is diminutive with pursing lips, and the face is framed with a collar of triangles in low relief. As emblems of yu, these mask were handled with extreme caution, then only during the ceremonies, and were absolutely kept out of sight of all women. While today the cultural stigma attached with this piece has faded, its power is still as vibrant as it ever was. This mask, once imbedded with such significant strength, still resonates an energy accumulated from years of worship. Holding this marvelous carving, a privilege formerly bestowed upon only the highest members of the social order, and then only for the most important ceremonies, remains a privilege today. In our hands, the strength of the yu continues to flow through our entire being. - (PF.5585)



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