This “Forest Spirit” mask was constructed by the Bete People of Takum, the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is directly intended to evoke fear. The process of stylizing and preserving the form of such objects requires a deep knowledge of craft as transmitted via oral tradition through centuries. By cultural tradition, this mask summons the forest spirits in all of their physical and metaphysical forms. Its prominent nose, bulging forehead, and large lips are characteristic. The tube-like, horizontal elements over the face also typify these objects, which fundamentally refer to animal tusks and horns, rendering a ferocious, beast-like appearance. This mask is utilized in rituals to declare war against an enemy or to honor heroes from past conquests.
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