TRIBAL AFRICAN ART

GREBO (also see related Dan, Bete and Guerre-Wobo)

The culture of the Grebo, a little-known ethnic group inhabiting the coastal region of eastern Liberia and the bordering forestlands, was shaped in a considerable degree by their neighbors to the north, the Kran and the Dan. Unlike the other people living in Liberia, the Grebo are not structured by the Poro society. They are ruled by a chief known as bodio who lives in near total isolation and also assumed the function of grand priest. The Grebo sculpt masks that incarnate the spirits of the invisible world who live in the forest. Produced by initiates of a very high level, these masks appeared during rituals reserved for initiates and at the time of festive occasions, when the whole population was able to see them. There are also war masks designed primarily to terrify. These masks appeared during battles, in the dances beforehand, and at the funerals of members of the group of warriors of the same age.  Figures are rare. Their style is closely related to Dan, Guerre-Wobo and other neighboring tribes.

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