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African Art

Mask with hinged Jaw (Bugle)

early 20th century


14 × 7 × 7 in. (35.56 × 17.78 × 17.78 cm)
Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection
This mask might have served as a judge called upon when matters could not be solved within a village community. Regarded as a spirit force that was unbiased, the mask would listen to the deliberations of the village council and render judgment; the decree was considered supernatural and therefore uncontestable. The mask was controlled or possibly worn by an experienced individual with thorough knowledge of traditional law, societal obligations, and sanctions for violations.
Country Liberia
On view
20th century

Charles B. Benenson Collection, Greenwich, Conn; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Frederick John Lamp, “Charles Benenson and His Legacy of African Art to Yale,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2004): 30, ill.

“Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006): 222.

Frederick John Lamp, Amanda Maples, and Laura M. Smalligan, Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2012), 216, 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.