SENUFO

 

The Senufo are distributed over three West African States, i.e. Cote d'Ivoire, Southern Mali and Burkina Faso. They claim to have migrated into this dry, sparce savanna country in the 17th and 18th century. They are skilled blacksmiths, a profession which is an integral part of central Senufo culture.

Face masks of the type shown in the collection represent ancestors. The wearer wore this particular mask over his face/forehead, secured to the head by an elastic band, probably cut from an old inner tire tube. A costume was then wrapped around the wearer's whole body including the head, resting on the rim of the mask.They were used by the Poro Society and Lo Secret Society for initiations and funerary ceremonies, but also at harvest festivals for agricultural rituals.