In talking about the buffalo of the grasslands, we must make reference to the king of that region. A king was appointed by his predecessor, who chose him from among his direct heirs, excluding the eldest. He would embody noble qualities of strength, perseverance, wisdom and perhaps certain super-human attributes, since he was responsible for fertility of the fields and fecundity of the women. A great responsibility indeed!
The buffalo was regarded as a figure of power, and an image of royal power which is frequently found in the decoration of works from the area. Though much like a mask this fine buffalo head was not worn, but topped a kind of bamboo cage surrounded by a tufted collar of palm fibers which concealed the head. These impressive objects would have been brought out after the first rainfall, and a ceremony was given in which the king himself would wear a mask and dance. The sheer graphic detail of this sculpture makes it seem very life-like, with its row of strong teeth, sharp horns and intense eyes, creating a powerful presence worthy of a king.