TOMA, LANDAI MASKS, Guinea
These brooding, often quite large, masks represent a forest spirit, Landai. They were used by the men's Poro Society to initiate boys into manhood. The masks, in what was often a frightening ritual for the boys, would symbolically swallow the boy, who would then re-emerge as a man. The masks were worn with a large raffia costume. Most have a flat face, the traditional beaked nose, jaws of teeth, protruding brow and horns.
TOMA, POSTS, Guinea
These posts relate to the brooding, often quite large, masks of the Toma, representing a forest spirit, Landai. They were used by the men's Poro Society to initiate boys into manhood. Like the masks most of the posts have a flat face, the traditional beaked nose, protruding brow and horns.
TOMA, Fetish Objects, Guinea
We know little about these fetish objects from the Toma people. There are some similarities with objects from the Kissi people in Sierra Leone.
A fetish is a statue or object with magical power, like an amulet, talisman or good luck charm. In traditional, tribal Africa, especially in Zaire, these beliefs are manifested in some of the most expressive and magical power figures ever created. This exhibit brings together the relics of many peoples, all used for specific functions, usually to conjure away evil spirits or attempt to control one's destiny.
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