Ancestor/spirit mask

Description:
Unstained mask carved with elaborate patterns and serated edges, topped with a small 'handle' for hanging. The eyes are cowrie shells, the nose is hooked, and the mouth has a protruding tongue.


Context:
Masks tend to represent ancient ancestors. The ancestor's protective spirit is evoked when the mask is used in dance rituals accompanied by music. The carved decoration probably relates to the raised patterns of skin scarification, based on crocodile skin patterns.