The We, whose name means ‘men who easily forgive’, live in the forests on the western frontier of the Ivory Coast. They are in fact two separate tribes – The Gere (also known as Ngere) and the Wobe – although they share numerous customs and beliefs. Confederations govern the tribes – the largest is the warrior confederation which is led by a military chief, who also acts as a civil authority. The family unit plays an important role in We social life. Each is led by a patriarch, revered for his wisdom and wealth, who supervises the clan’s life – he organizes weddings, settles conflicts and influences religious life.
We carvers seem to have focused their skills on carving powerful face masks to which paraphernalia such as cowrie shells, bells, nails and feathers were attached. These applied pieces were thought to reinforce the power of the mask.
Baquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa. New York: Thames and Hudson Inc. 1998. Print.