African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Senufo crest
Senoufo Bird Crest Mask (N° 21478)
The hornbill in African art
The mythical hornbill, which is one of the five animals of the Senufo cosmogony, tops this braided headdress. Evoked for morphological and behavioral criteria, it decorates, in its miniature version, many objects of African art Senoufo. Its long beak is often "interpreted as the representation of the male sexual organ" perpetuating the life of the community.
Height on base: 47 cm.
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The senoufo villages are composed of clusters of dwellings named katiolo . Each of them has its own Poro association which initiates young boys from the age of seven in a succession of three cycles lasting seven years . They gather in a sacred enclosure called sinzanga located near the village, among the trees. At the time of the death of one of the members of the Poro, these statues were displayed. The sculpture of the navel is not insignificant and testifies to a symbolism relating to the ancestral origin of Man through this vestige linking him to his genitress. Although exclusively masculine, the Poro society in fact pays tribute through these statues to the supposed founder of sinzanga.
Source: "The bird in the art of West Africa" Ed. Sépia
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