Mask (vaca bruto, dugn'be type)

Naturalistic cow’s head of carved from wood with eyes cut from the bottoms of glass bottles. Natural cow horns are attached. Head is predominantly black with white triangle on forehead, red pigment surrounding eyes, red in interior of ears, white chin, and white dots on cheeks and in red ground around eyes. Horns are white, tipped in black; a fiber cord runs through its nostrils and around back of head.
Artist Unknown, African, Bijogo Peoples Guinea Bissau
1925-1975
This is one of several types of bovine masks ( called vaca-bruto or “wild cattle” in Creole, the lingua franca of Guinea Bissau) performed at boys and men’s initiation ceremonies, festivals and national holidays. This particular mask is called dugn’be, which represents a domesticated ox and is danced by adolescent boys newly initiated into their age grade.
Gift of Avery Z. Eliscu
1984/1.273