Kwele mask from Gabon
  • Kwele mask from Gabon
  • Kwele Bata mask

Kwele Bata mask


The traditional masks of the Kwele, in Gabon, only appeared on the African art market from the 1960s. Their undeniable aesthetic qualities earned them great immediate success.

This very well preserved wooden mask is no exception. Indeed, we find the simplified face, in the shape of a heart. Curved horns join the chin. Face and horns are the subject of an application of kaolin to mark the contrast and the expression. It represents "bata", the ram.

This mask, like most other Bakwele masks, was found in a chief or elder's hut. There are several types of kwele masks.

They relate to beete ceremonies taking place during important events such as death, social tensions, etc. The precise names of the masks are ekuk, gon and pipibudzè. However, other names exist, such as bata or zuom.

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Data sheet

Presumed dating
Mid XXth century
40 cm
Ethnic group
Kwele / Bakwele
Tribal art collection Belgium

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