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African Art

Mask Representing a Chimpanzee (Kaogle)

late 19th–early 20th century

Wood and encrustation

8 7/8 × 3 15/16 × 6 1/8 in. (22.5 × 10 × 15.5 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn for the Linton Collection of African Art
Kaogle masks, with their exaggerated cubistic features, are used to provide rowdy entertainment and to incite the young men of the village to work out their aggression in dance. The free-for-all is accompanied by palm-wine drinking, a slit-gong orchestra, and singers. The animalistic movements of the masked dancers parallel the unpredictable actions of the ape, teaching good behavior by acting out its inverse. Adorned with a cotton wig, bunches of leaves, or short feathers, the mask is worn with a floor-length gown of raffia and a mantle of cotton cloth.
Guinea Coast, Liberia
Guinea Coast, Côte d’Ivoire
On view
19th–20th century

Dr. Ralph Linton, Sterling Professor of Anthropology at Yale, unknown date–1953
Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn donated to Yale University Art Gallery for the Linton Collection of African Art in 1959


Jessica Feinstein, “Art, Out of Africa,” Yale Daily News (January 30, 2004), B1, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.