X82.569 Elephant mask

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Not Currently On View in Intersections


Elephant mask
Bamileke peoples
20th century
Beads, cotton, wood
H: 150.0 cm, W: 71.5 cm, D: 6.0 cm (H: 59.1 in, W: 28.1 in, D: 2.4 in)
Anonymous gift. X82.569


Striking beaded or tufted masks emulating elephants were the prerogative of the Kuosi association in the Bamileke region and were performed during funerals and public ceremonies to ensure prosperity. Formerly a society of warriors, the Kuosi association’s substantial dues eventually came to restrict membership to the wealthy. During performances, luxurious materials and royal symbols covered the Kuosi dancers’ bodies, revealing their affluence and high status.

Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006