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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Senufo Masks : Senufo Wooden Degele Helmet Mask
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Senufo Wooden Degele Helmet Mask - PF.4991
Origin: Northern Ivory Coast, Mali
Circa: 1900 AD to 1930 AD
Dimensions: 29" (73.7cm) high x 5.25" (13.3cm) wide
Collection: African Art
Style: Senufo
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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In funeral ceremonies, the performers wearing helmet masks (always in pairs) appear at night before the initiated arrive. Some of the helmets fit over the head, while others, such as this very handsome example, are placed on top of the head attached to a cloth covering. The abstract figure (Deguele) depicts a female with large, pointed breasts. An extension from the waist serves as a loincloth, duplicated in a smaller version around the neck. The use of coils for the waist and neck are a distinct and very clever characteristic of Senufo sculpture. The head ornament is comprised of three vertical “prongs” and three conical “bundles” descending in diminishing order down the back of the neck. Scarification in a checkerboard pattern runs horizontally from the ears. Her heart-shaped face is very serene, with fine slits for eyes that could be either closed or open, and puckered lips that appear about to speak. She seems like an oracle on the verge of making a pronouncement of importance to her people, gathered together for a great ceremony. - (PF.4991)


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