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African Decorative Mask with Arrow Crest
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This is a vigorous depiction of red-blooded maleness!  There is the arrowhead and shaft, of course, but also the open, aggressive mouth which reveals upper teeth and the tip of the tongue as if in a powerful snarl.  This image of maleness is tempered by the presence of two females in the ascedent position despite their diminuitive sizes. Their conceptual importance is shown by the details given to each personality by different headscarft patterned. The entire mask displays another feminine design: delicate incised lines are enhanced by being painted red and black.  Of course, only the carver knows the true iconography and he/she remains anonymous.  Perhaps it is best to abandon too much interpretation and just appreciate the formal composition and decoration, leaving the "real" meaning to the mask's unknown creator.  Stained and painted wood, handcrafteed in Kenya.  Collected prior to 2006.
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