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Baltimore Museum of Art opens renovated African and Asian galleries
Baltimore Museum of Art opens renovated African and Asian galleries

They seem to breathe, these 12 20th-century African masks, and to look at us with the same bold curiosity with which we examine them. A few have birds nesting in their wooden and metal hair. Two others rise above long tangles of raffia. One artist even etched a pair of spectacles onto her mask. Despite the charming touches, the masks are undeniably powerful and even frightening — as befits their role in a controversial female initiation ritual that has traditionally involved genital mutilation. Placed on posts and arrayed before a dramatic, royal blue wall, the grouping is one of the stop-in-your-tracks moments in the Baltimore Museum of Art's newly renovated galleries for...

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