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African Decorative Mask with Elephant Crest, Kenya
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This mask has no cultural links to traditional ethnic art in East Africa.  It is a new, modern form of craft created for visiting foreigners and so is one in a category of decorative pieces often called "tourist art" or "airport art."  Every so often, from the craft factory an anonymous soul produces an exceptionally interesting piece such as this mask.  The laughing toothy face is frontal, the two heads in the profile are integrated into the forehead which is surmounted by a magnificent  forward-facing elephant in relief which is complete with trunk (turned up to symbolize good luck), tusks and flaring ears.Red and black stain, tiny rows of dashes highlight the facial features.  Red and white beads on the mask and two detachable accessory picks echo the East and Southern African use of beads of communicate messages and unifies all three pieces.  Stained wood, glass  beads, imported from Kenya, collected prior to 2006.
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