About the Bete People
“The Ivory Coast is home to the Bete – they live between the Akan tribe to the east and the Guro tribe to the north. They number 350,000 and live in villages, with the eldest man of the main family at the head. Historically, they were hunters, but nowadays they also farm. Religion, omnipresent in Bete life, aims to maintain a harmonious relationship between nature and the ancestors who are responsible for the welfare of the tribe. Elaborate masquerades are ceremonies are performed by the men of the tribe who belong to dance societies. “
“Bete carvers are renowned for one particular type of face mask which has exaggerated features, a large protruding mouth, an elongated nose, with nostrils sometimes extending to each side of the face, and globular eyes set beneath a high-domed forehead carved with a medium ridge. Historically, this type of mask was worn to prepare men for war; nowadays, it is worn for a variety of ceremonies, including entertainment dances.”
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.
Dave Dahl—CEO Discover African Art
Keywords: Bete, Akan, Guro, Yaure, Guere/Gere, Dan, Nyabwa, Ivory Coast, Cote D’Ivoire, Mask