On View In:
Gallery 250
Artist:   Artist Unknown  
Title:   Mask  
Date:   first half of 20th century  
Medium:   Wood, pigment, metal  
Dimensions:   30 1/2 x 11 1/4 x 20 1/2 in. (77.47 x 28.58 x 52.07 cm)  
Credit Line:   Gift of Walker Art Center and the T.B. Walker Foundation, 2006  
Location:   Gallery 250  

This mask is a “firespitter.” The wearer places dried grasses and glowing chips of wood in the mouth and blows on them, usually in nighttime performances when the effect is most dramatic. Get closer to the mask and you’ll see an assortment of devouring jaws, dagger-like tusks, and multiple horns. The mask is meant to evoke the terror of sorcery while also conveying the kind of supernatural warfare it takes to protect the community from ill-intentioned people.

Name:   Artist Unknown  

Object Description  
Inscriptions:   Inscriptions on back at bottom, in red: [60.24]- in two areas; on back at bottom, in white: [2667  
Classification:   Ceremonial Objects  
Physical Description:   animal's head with squared-off snout; four tusks and six horns; diamond-shaped ears; encrusted patina-only small fragments of pigment remain  
Creation Place:   Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa region, ,  
Accession #:   2006.36.3  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts