24 April 2014

Scary Masks

Need some new source material for your nightmares? The Musée du Quai Branly can help you out, as I discovered on a quick trip to Paris a couple weeks ago.

Included among its large permanent collection of traditional art from Oceania, Asia, Africa and the Americas are enough masks to populate a poker tournament. Some are intricately crafted with inlay of shell and bone, some are so crudely hewn from wood or stone you can almost hear their makers grunting. Some masks show a vacant expression, some are a nearly abstract map of shapes and lines leading to the soul. Others are almost goofy, though toothy.

Others still, utterly terrifying.

Does he look familiar, comic book fans?
I was glad each mask was behind thick glass.

The guy below managed to be both scary and funny. Can you read his lips? Isn't he asking for a hamburger?

Until May 18th there are even more masks at the Branly, thanks to the temporary exhibition, Bois Sacré (Sacred Wood), masks from West Africa. If you're in Paris, you gotta go. Just don't expect sweet dreams that night.

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