Kono or Mano Mask - Sierra Leone

A gorgeous female mask with a deep black patina and finely detailed coiffure of braided fiber. Slitted, introspective eyes focus the viewer's gaze on this softly modeled visage, flanked by small, semicircular ears.

An almost identical mask, either by the same carver or atelier, is in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and is described as Dan-Gio or Mano (Yale # 0054771-01).

This piece was acquired in the 1930s by Kenneth McGowan, a Hollywood director who published a book on masks in 1923. An old label remains on the reverse, indicating that this mask was likely acquired from George Harley, a noted missionary and anthropologist who acquired a significant West African collection starting in 1926.

In good condition. The mask comes with a canine tooth (not pictured) that fits into the original resin pack used to hold the teeth in place.

Kono or Mano
Wood, fiber coiffure, canine tooth
Early 20th century
H: 9 1/2" W: 6 1/2"
ex Kenneth McGowan, Los Angeles
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