TRIBAL AFRICAN ART

BASSA (BASA)

The Bassa, one of the largest Kru-speaking peoples in the central coastal region and adjacent hinterland of Liberia, have been strongly influenced by the Mende-speaking neighbors, especially the Dan and Kpelle. Their economy is based on rice which they cultivate around small villages which have a population around two hundred. Bassa artistic tradition has been also influenced by their north-eastern neighbors, the Dan, who live on the Côte d’Ivoire. Bassa carvers are famed for their two-planed gela (geh-naw) masks worn during the no men's society ceremonies when the wearer of the mask moves with feminine and elegant grace. The masqueraders entertain the spectators when initiated boys return from bush camp, when important guests visit the village, and on other festive occasions. Bassa sculptures also bare similarity to Dan and display monumental and solemn qualities combined with skillful carving.

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