The mask hides as much as it reveals, “denies as much as it affirms”, as Claude Lévi-Strauss asserted. Very often the holder of a secret, the mask conceals that which only the initiated should know.
The mask’s power also lies in its capacity to incarnate spirits, a link between man and his ancestors, between the visible and the invisible world. It is inseparable from a mythical context which structures the mode of existence and thought of the majority of traditional societies.
Central to the life of a group or a community, the mask, an indispensable intercessor, is always active.
Ritual mask, Nepal, 19th century, Wood with blackish patina, goat hair, earth, resin, Dim.: Height 22cm, Width 16cm, Ancient collection of Marc Petit, Gift under right of usufruct, 70.2003.1.10
A semi-cylindrical mask, the shape of which evokes tree bark or a tree trunk. The stylised male face with a roughly carved nose, hair, beard and moustache, could evoke a spirit of the forest.