This very beautifully-carved mask (kpelie) is from the group of peoples that have become known as the Senufo. The Senufo (the francophone spelling Senoufo is commonly used) are an ethnolinguistic group composed of diverse subgroups of Gur-speaking people living in an area spanning from southern Mali and the extreme western corner of Burkina Faso to Katiola in Côte d'Ivoire.It dates to the 1920s and has a patina consistent with such a dating. It would have been used in masquerade dance rituals.
It has been carved from a single piece of wood. It is of oval form. It has a pursed, projecting mouth displaying gritted teeth. A long, slender nose leads to double, arched eyebrows and closed lids above pierced eye slits. Both the eyes and the mouth have been accentuated by white coloring.There are rows of scarification on the lower cheeks and forehead. The head is surmounted with a conical shaped crown. There are human/bird-like forms attached to the headdress and along the sides of the head.
The rim has been drilled all the way around with holes to allow the mask to be attached to textile or raffia so that the whole could be worn over the head.
The Senufo artists have a high status in their society as their masks and sculptures are believed to have the power to help communication between the living and their dead ancestors.
Senufo masks are used in the rites of the Poro society, a male organization that educates young men in the traditions and responsibilities necessary for their coming of age.
The Senufo worship their ancestors, particularly Kolotyolo - the ‘Ancient Mother’ who is holds so much power that she has to be carefully approached through intervention by lesser gods.

Related examples are illustrated in Robbins & Nooter (1989, p. 114) and Gagliardi (2015, p, 98).

Condition: The mask has a lustrous, blackened patina, and the surface has much evidence of age and light encrustation under a magnifying loop.

The mask is in excellent condition. This mask is accompanied by an attractive, high-quality, custom-made stand
Dimensions: 14 inches high x 8 inches wide x 7 inches deep.
Weight: 7 pounds.

Brown, White

Cedar Tree Antiques

Senufo African Mask


    Interesting objects for interesting people


    since 2018

    Cedar Tree Antiques

    Upland , CA This Shop is rated Gold - 100 or more sales Goldsince 2018

    More From This Seller