Our page banner is a detail of a Bété mask from the Ivory Coast.
Photo: (Creative Commons) © David Monniaux
Woyo masks are usually painted with contrasting colors against a white background and are often worn with a full length costume made from banana leaves.
The colors used in a Woyo mask have symbolic meaning and are sometimes repainted to renew its power.
Woyo masks are carved for the ritual dances of the 'ndunga', a male society responsible for maintaining social order.
The Woyo believe in witchcraft. Ordeals by fire and poison are used to determine the guilt of those who have been practicing sorcery.
The Woyo are mostly fishermen who live on the Atlantic coast in the Angolan province of Cabinda and spread inland to the southwest region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.