Ceremonial costume, scultpure, mask


20th Century


West Africa, Liberia


Wood, metal, hair, fiber, pigment, bullet casings
6 1/2 x 20 7/8 x 16 15/16 in. (16.5 x 53 x 43 cm)

Object Number



Through bold color and aggressive imagery, predatory animal references, horns, and strange tubular eyes this mask is a visually intimidating presence that harnesses the power of spirits from the wilderness as instruments of proprietary control in the realm of the town or village. Their visual affect was only heightened during performance.

This Wé mask presents a bewildering accumulation of animal references: a fringe of aluminum-silver pseudo-leopard teeth, wild boar tusks, and pointed ears. With its bold color and bullet casings, this prototypical nature spirit mask is wild and menacing, making it a powerful judge during legal disputes and a great motivator of men preparing for battle.

Credit Line

Ex coll. William S. Arnett


Divine Intervention: African Art and Religion, Michael C. Carlos Museum, February 5 - December 4, 2011|
MCCM Permanent Collection Gallery, August 6, 2016 - Present


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2011.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View



“Mask,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 18, 2020,

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