Senufo, Ivory Coast / Helmet Mask / 20th centurySenufo, Ivory Coast
Helmet Mask
20th century

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Creator Nationality: African
Creator Name-CRT: Senufo, Ivory Coast
Title: Helmet Mask
View: Front view
Creation Start Date: 1900
Creation End Date: 1984
Creation Date: 20th century
Creation Place: Ivory Coast, Africa
Object Type: Costume and Jewelry
Classification Term: Headgear
Materials and Techniques: Wood, shell (cowrie), cloth (cotton), wax
Dimensions: Height: 11 3/4"; width: 9 1/2"
Description: Wooden helmet mask distinguished by cowrie shell surface and buffalo horn imagery; thick wood helmet circular at base with side walls slightly tapering inward to round top; handspun cotton cloth cover over entire helmet; wax coating on cloth embedded with cowrie shells; deeply notched high central ridge bisects helmet front to back; identical downward curved horns extend from ridge to wall on front and back; short tubular wood posts extend from ridge between horns on both sides (front tube is nailed in, may be a replacement; rear tube repaired with metal band); buffalo ears angled back on sides of head; buffalo horns with convex sides extend crescent-like from sides of head and form circle with painted tips almost touching at center top; dark brown patina.
AMICA Contributor: Brooklyn Children's Museum
Owner Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA
ID Number: 84.32.9
Credit Line: Gift of the Honorable John. A. McKesson, 1984
Context: The helmet is one of many worn by full Poro Society members at ceremonies for new initiates upon completion of their training. Many masks have cowrie shell decoration. The horns represent those of a buffalo, a symbol of intellectual and physical perfection.
AMICA ID: BCM_.84.32.9
AMICA Library Year: 2003
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