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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Senufo Masks : Senufo Wooden Helmet Mask
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Senufo Wooden Helmet Mask - PF.4621
Origin: Northern Ivory Coast, Mali
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 27.625" (70.2cm) high x 10.375" (26.4cm) wide
Collection: African Art
Medium: Wood

Additional Information: closet AF8
Location: United States
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The Senufo sculptors were, and still are, very important to the spiritual life of the community. Their works of art are not only aesthetically pleasing, but play a crucial role in the many festivals held throughout the year.

This very impressive helmet mask was used by dancers during funerals of important members of the Lo society. On the bell-shaped helmet is a beautifully carved face. The scarification on the cheeks indicate position and prestige; while the geometric shapes radiating from the face may represent mystical elements of the dead after becoming part of the spirit world. Rising from the base is a lovely spiral surmounted by a female head with breasts. She is stylized in the manner typical of the Senufo, with elongated cheeks, small lips and conical hairdo. Her eyes are closed, as are those of the face below her, in a serene gesture symbolizing the quietness of death before the reawakening in the otherworld. The abstract style of the mask paradoxically gives the entire object greater life and energy. It is basically simple in design, and yet surprisingly complex, as if by some magic possessing a grandeur and nobility beyond the limitations of the normal everyday world.
- (PF.4621)


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