Ga Wree-Wre Mask (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

19th-20th century
wood, metal, fiber, cowrie shells, glass beads, brass, bone, hand-woven cloth (the raffia skirt is not original)
Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia
Overall: 47 × 16 × 22 in. (119.38 × 40.64 × 55.88 cm)
Overall (as installed): 55 3/4 in. (141.61 cm)

The dramatic visual impact of African masks is evident in this solemn-looking judgment mask, known as Ga Wree-Wre. It walks about and sits, but does not dance. An interpreter who understands the mask’s strange, animal-like “language” accompanies it, communicating its messages to the assembled public.

Elements of the Ga Wree-Wre contrast the wilderness, symbolized by the brass leopard’s teeth and the raffia skirt, with the village, suggested by the human features, the headdress, and the woven cape.

Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
Roy, Lucinda. Fabric: Poems. Virginia: Willow Publishing, 2017. p. 30, bw illus.

Richard B. Woodward, African Art (Richmond, VA: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1994) pp. 76-79, ill.

Katter, Eldon and Marilyn G. Stewart. “Art and the Human Experience.” Worcester, MA.: Davis Publications, 2002. (children’s workbook) p. 41, color ill. fig. F3-6 p. 41, and color ill. p. 51.

Sotheby’s. “Tribal Art.” New York: Sotheby’s, 24 Novmber 1992. (Lot. 80)

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Video Series, 2002-2003. (pamphlet)

Woodward, Richard B. African Art: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Richmond, Virginia: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2000. (illus. 79, p. 76-79)
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.