- Label Text
- The form of this miniature mask echos certain face masks from this region. Such miniature masks – referred to as ma go, but sometimes called “passport masks” – were carried or kept by men as “protective devices” and to signal that they had achieved a certain status in the community that was recognized and sanctioned by the elders (Reed, referencing Siegmann, in Grootaers and Bortholot 2014: 89). They may also be commissioned and carried for curative purposes. While the vast majority of miniature masks are carved of wood, some rare examples are also made of cast brass or stone. The literature is unclear whether such brass personal masks were made for local use or for sale to foreigners. Regardless, the fine casting and decorative detail of this Bassa miniature mask reveal the hand of an accomplished artist.
- Maskette with green patination.
- William Siegmann, -- to 2011
- Estate of William Siegmann, 2011 to 2016
- Exhibition History
- Visions from the Forests: The Art of Liberia and Sierra Leone, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, April 9, 2014- August 17, 2014; Minneapolis Institute of Art, September 20, 2014-February 8, 2015; Indiana University Art Museum, March 7-May 10, 2015
- Published References
- Ferme, Mariane C., et al. 2014. Visions from the Forests: The Art of Liberia and Sierra Leone, exhibition catalogue. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, no.44, p.175.
- Data Source
- National Museum of African Art
- Bassa artist
- Mid-20th century
- Credit Line
- Gift of the Estate of William Siegmann
- Copper alloy
- H x W x D: 12 × 6.6 × 1.9 cm (4 3/4 × 2 5/8 × 3/4 in.)