X83.968 Leader mask

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Not Currently On View in Intersections 


Leader mask
Kom peoples (?)
Wood, pigment, bast, cord, hair, encrustation
19th century
L: 22.3 cm, H: 37.5 cm, D: 16.5 cm (L: 8.7 in, H: 14.7 in, D: 6.4 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Anonymous Gift. X83.968


Masks from the Grassfields kingdoms are often associated with regulatory societies whose purpose is to ensure social control and law enforcement, as well as to check and balance the authority of the fon (king). These masks may depict either male or female characters. They appear in sequence with as many as thirty masks performing on a single occasion. The ”leader mask,” who symbolizes royal authority and lineage strength, wears a garment with tufts of human hair and carries two staffs.

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