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Head  (gle)
Date: Mid-20th century
Medium: Clay, feathers, cowrie shells, hair, glass
Dimensions: H x W x D: 41.7 x 32.6 x 29.7 cm (16 7/16 x 12 13/16 x 11 11/16 in.)
Credit Line: Gift of Robert and Nancy Nooter
Geography: Liberia
Object Number: 68-19-9
Search Terms:
Divination
Object is not currently on exhibit

While in a trance state, a diviner answers questions about the past, present and future with the gle balanced on top of his head. While it bears a superficial resemblance to Wee wood masks, it is made of unfired clay with added materials that seem to sum up the various components of the world.

Cylindrical head of unfired clay, central vertical forehead ridge, cylindrical projections on cheeks, cowrie shell eyes, glass teeth, long hair (probably cowtail) inserted in cheeks and over ears and vertically projecting feathers on top of head.

African trader, Liberia, -- to 1965-1967


Robert and Nancy Nooter, Washington, D.C., 1965-1967 to 1968


Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., April 22, 2013-February 23, 2014; Fowler Museum at UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles, April 19-September 14, 2014; Bowdoin College Museum of Art, October 15, 2015-March 9, 2016


Milbourne, Karen E. 2013. Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa. New York: The Monacelli Press; Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, p. 61, no. 42.


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