smiling face with open mouth; very long slim nose

Misi gwa so'o (Chimpanzee Mask), 20th century

expand_more

Woodexpand_more

Gift of David and Sara Liebermanexpand_more  2001.198.9

Not on Viewexpand_more

Chimpanzees are rarely featured in African art because their resemblance to humans can be unsettling. Exceptions are the misi gwa so'o masks of the Hemba. The exaggerated features of the half-human, half-chimpanzee mask contrast greatly with the noble and reserved ancestral figures of the classic Hemba style. The wide, open mouth and raised eyebrows were not meant to be comical, but rather fearsome and terrifying. Misi gwa so'o masks were used at funerals to symbolize the presence of death.

Details
Title
Misi gwa so'o (Chimpanzee Mask)
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2001.198.9
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

Does something look wrong with this image? Let us know

In consideration of the health and safety of visitors, volunteers, and staff, Mia is temporarily closed to the public. Learn more here.

smiling face with open mouth; very long slim nose