H x W x D: 87.6 x 19.7 x 13.3 cm (34 1/2 x 7 3/4 x 5 1/4 in.) Mounted: 102.9 x 26 x 37.5 cm (40 1/2 x 10 1/4 x 14 3/4 in.)
This vertical mask takes the form of a serpent spirit known as a-Mantsho-na-Tshol. Photographs or even precise drawings of its performance appearance or exactly how it is worn or carried do not exist. It appeared at the initiation of boys into adulthood and in combats between junior and senior clans. It is described as beautiful, a bringer of wealth, and fearsome.
This example is on the small end of the spectrum; many examples that are twice this size are known. The smaller size may relate to the Islamic purge of objects from 1954 -1957. But it is likely to be a more recent reworking of the tradition.
Wood vertical flattened S-curve snake crest mask, central ridge, triangular patterns in thick red, black and white pigment.
Tribal Arts Gallery 2, New York, -- to 1974
The Robbins Center, 1974-2016
Artful Animals, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., July 1, 2009-July 25, 2010
Animals in African Art. The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury, MD. February 18 - June 2000
Education gallery, Museum of African Art, circa 1979
African Room dedication, Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. April 24, 1977
Cultural Resistance, Art from Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Angola. African-American Institute, NY, NY October 29,1974-February 1, 1975
Hersey, Irwin. 1974. Cultural Resistance, Art from Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Angola. African-American Institute, NY, NY October 29,1974-February 1, 1975, no.48 (not illus.)