Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB


Little is known about the masking traditions of the Grebo, who live in the coastal area of eastern Liberia, but powerful masks such as this are rare. While the size of the forehead is greatly exaggerated, the rest of the face looks far more human than many other African masks, a realism heightened through the incorporation of teeth in the mouth and human hair for the beard. The horns on the top of the head are said to refer to those of the buffalo, a powerful animal and an apt metaphor for the strength and vigor expected of an adult male.

Grebo peoples, Liberia
20th century
Wood, human hair, teeth, pigment
H. 22 ¾ in. (57.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Svend E. Holsoe Collection, 99.6