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Oil on canvas / 81 x 130 cm / 2014


In the Whole of  Africa small statues and masks play a very important role in life. Every object has a specific meaning and  function in the different societies and traditional cultures. Far from being merely ornamental, masks and statues appear in most ceremonies. Some are specially created for witch doctors and faith healers. Important decisions could not be made without having consulted them first.

Masks and statues in the picture, from left to right :
1. Three face Igbo mask, the incarnation of a legendary war hero, Asufuwho,
who was known for never being taken by surprise.
2. Igbo mask worn by freshly initiated young men.
3. A pair of Yarouba masks dedicated to womanhood and to fertility.
4. Ogoni mask used in making judiciary decisions.
5. Statue of Igbo ancestor who used toprotect his descendents. He was
consulted for important family decisions, and was given gifts and offerings.
6. Yarouba mask dedicated to god Epa. The ceremony took place each year
and lasted several days.

Statue of Igbo ancestor

Yarouba masks

Benin (Dahomey)


Photos : Arts et traditions d’Afrique – Editions HAZAN