SENUFO FIRESPITTER MASKS, Ivory Coast

The two Gbon masks below have been vetted as authentic.


 

   SENUFO, Firespitter Mask 12, 13.5" high x 23.5" long, $2000

 

SENUFO, Firespitter Mask 13, 11.5" high x 17" long, $800

Photographs ©Hamill Gallery

SENUFO, FIRESPITTER MASKS, Ivory Coast

These large horizontal masks, composites of several animals, were called Kponungo, or "funeral head masks". The term "Firespitter" is used by outsiders. Used by both Poro and non-Poro male societies, these helmet masks embodied an aggressive supernatural power to combat any forces that might disrupt the well-being of the community. The powerful features of antelopes, buffaloes, crocodiles, warthogs, hornbills, chameleons and humans combined to symbolize power and to recall important myths. They were used in anti-witchcraft ceremonies.

Numbers 12 and 13 are Gbon Masks, simpler and danced at funerals

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