Bete mask


This is a mask coming from the Bete group. This type of mask is used during funerals or during ceremonies organized between villages  to detect sorcerers that can bring harm to the community . In the past, it used to be a war mask and was used to prepare men for the fights.

Typical of these masks are the protruding forehead, large mouth, narrow eyes and hornlike protuberances to protect the face.

The Bete tribe lives in the southwestern part of Côte d’Ivoire, between the Sassandra and Badama Rivers, close to the Guro and Akan tribes.

The Bete tribe are known to maintain a harmonious relationship between nature and the ancestors.They believe in the spirit world to guide and protect them through daily life. These spirits they believe are found in nature, namely rivers, rocks, forests etc.

They number about 600,000 and are an agricultural group. Patrilinear, the Bete live – under the ancestors’ authority – in small “headless” villages. Historically they were hunters, but nowadays they also farm. They grow what is needed for a subsistence economy. They also have linked to the market economy and much of their effort is devoted to the cultivation of cacao and coffee.

Bete carvers are renowned for one particular type of face mask, the gre or nyabwa , which has exaggerated, grimacing distorted features –



You can purchase this mask and other type of masks by visiting the following link:

~ by myafrikart on April 13, 2009.

One Response to “Bete mask”

  1. Information about different religion is very interesting. We can learn a lot of things from them like believing in spirit world or making bad things go away. It is very amazing how they used this mask for preparing men to fight. We can use similar technique to increase self esteem between ourselves or others around us. We can also find stuff like these on auction sites.

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