African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Senufo mask

Senufo mask (N° 23411)

Muslim references mingle with growths adorning this Senoufo mask coated with a black patina. "Kpélié" meaning "jumping mask", it is also worn during initiations symbolically marking a death followed by a rebirth. Abraded patina, small accidents. Minimal cracks.
The African Sénufo masks are worn by male members of the Poro society, an institution that controls political and economic life. Kept in the sacred enclosure named sezang in order to hide them from the gaze of the uninitiated, their function is to honor the elders or even appear at funerals. Anthropomorphic masks would primarily chase the spirit of the deceased from its place of residence. Named “wife of the Dô” by the Dyoula, he also intervened during major Muslim celebrations, such as Eid-al-Fitr. Living in a restricted area, the sénufo sculptor, whose training spanned seven years, began by making everyday objects, then, little by little, sported sculptures larger than more important. Initiatory rituals completed his learning.  

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OriginEx-collection belge
Countrycôte d'ivoire
Height cm37
Width17 cm
Weight0.70 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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