The masks are one of the elements in African art and culture that most influenced Western culture. They vary greatly from one culture to another, though almost all have spiritual traits. Whether representing an animal, an ancestor or a feminine figure, the maker of the mask has a special consideration within the tribe, considered to be in direct contact with the spiritual world. In African culture there is a difference between the outer look and the essence, and it is precisely this essence that is captured by the mask maker. Not everyone can wear a mask, only the chosen ones because of the strength it requires. This is a Mandinka mask. The Mandinka people, sometimes referred to as the Mandingo, live mainly in West Africa and are the largest ethnic group in the Gambia. One famous Mandinka was Kunta Kinteh, captured in his Gambian village and sent as a slave to the United States.
Given these items are hand carved by an artisan, the dimensions are approximate, they may vary from one to another.