About this object

This type of Senufo Kponungo or ‘Funeral Head mask’ has often erroneously been called a ‘fire-spitter’ mask. The mask draws imagery from a number of wild animals, often including buffalo, warthog, crocodile, antelope, chameleon, bird and snake. There is also often a ‘cup’ on top which is filled with special ‘medicine’ that serves to guarantee its efficacy and power. However, this mask does not seem to have been made with a ‘medicine’ container and would probably have been made for sale to collectors. Masks of this type were owned by men’s anti-witchcraft associations and would be performed at funerals and at other times when the wellbeing of the community is threatened. A primary purpose of the Kponungo masquerade is to harnesses spiritual powers of the wild in order to combat witches and malevolent bush spirits or spirits of the dead.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Mask
  • Culture
    Senufo
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Africa: Western Africa: Ivory Coast
  • Date made
    1968 before
  • Materials
    Wood
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Purchased From M. L. J. Lemaire, 1968
  • Collector
    M L J Lemaire
  • Place collected
    Africa: Western Africa: Ivory Coast
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    340 mm x 300 mm x 840 mm
  • Note
    Stockbook: 6. Mask (Dan). M. L. J. Lemaire, Prinsengracht 841, Amsterdam C., Netherlands.
  • Related people
    M L J Lemaire ( Collector)
Object view = Humanities
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