Skip Navigation

Mask (Von Gla)

Arts of Africa

This mask combines many diverse materials to create an image of power. Multiple eyes, warthog tusks, large teeth, and other power symbols such as rifle casings and a beard of authentic and wooden leopard’s teeth form a fierce countenance that frightens away negative forces.
MEDIUM Wood, metal, fur, fiber, hair, leopard’s teeth, pigment
DATES late 19th or early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 18 x 15 3/4 x 6 in. (45.7 x 40 x 15.2 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. Gordon Douglas III
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The face mask, which appears to represent a bush spirit, contains animal and human composits. It has two protruding winglike ears and two sets of eyes: one castenet shaped; the other tubular. Its large open mouth contains a tongue covered with cloth, metal teeth, and on each side, a boar's tusk. Strung around the rim of the mask are ivory teeth, wooden pieces, nails, rope, raffia fiber, cloth and hair. White pigment has been applied to parts of the mask. The mask's condition is fragile. Pigment is missing in some areas and flaking in others; cloth attachments are worn and fragile.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION We. Mask (Von Gla), late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, metal, fur, fiber, hair, leopard’s teeth, pigment, 18 x 15 3/4 x 6 in. (45.7 x 40 x 15.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. Gordon Douglas III, 75.189.4. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 75.189.4_PS1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 75.189.4_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.