Toma Landai Mask, Guinea/Liberia
This brooding, large Toma Landai mask from the Guinea/Liberia area of the African continent is a very strong representational work, handcrafted and unique. Masks of this kind historically were used by the Poro Society to initiate young men into manhood. The mask symbolically would "swallow" the boys who then would be reborn into men during their ceremony. The masks were worn with very elaborate costumes made from raffia leaves. This piece has a very traditional beaked nose, a protruding brow and lip. 15" x 4.5" x 2"