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African, Asian, and Islamic Art

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Open Access

Mitsogho Mask

Artist: Unknown Gabonese Artist Primary
Date: ca. 1920-1930
20th century
Dimensions: 9 x 6.5 in. (22.86 x 16.51 cm)
Object Type: Mask
Creation Place: Africa, Gabon
Medium and Support: Wood and pigment
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Fass
Accession Number: 2018.14.01
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries

The Mitsogo, or Tsogo people are an ethno-cultural group living in Gabon in West Africa. Masks like these, made of carved wood whitened with clay and adorned with red pigment, were sometimes used in ceremonies centered on ancestor worship.

Once an object is removed from its original cultural context it is very hard to know the intent of the maker. Was this mask carved for traditional ceremonial purposes? Or was it made to sell as a decorative object or souvenir for someone outside the community?


Parke-Bernet Galleries (June 19,1968, Sale 2724, Lot#226); 2003 gift to Fairfield University.


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