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African Decorative Mask :  Bearded Man, I
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These days, many traditional African craft skills are used to create souveniers for the international tourist market.  The worst of these deserve to be dismissed as worthless 'junque.'  However, the best ones should be displayed as valued treasures even if they are not museum quality.  Some pieces are quite inventive and expressive like this mask with its unsual Van Dyke-style beard that sweeps dramatically to the right as if blown by a gale.  It has plump red eyelids closed to slits, and wide arched eyebrows that span the entire forehead.  Emerging from the eyebrows is a narrow nose bridge that ends abruptly over the thin protruding lips of the open mouth.  A crescent shaped hairdo or headdress is topped by an integrated hanging loop.  Red and black stain draws attention to more than the eyes to include cheeks, beard and hair/headdress.  Collected prior to 2006. Stained wood handcrafted in Kenya
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