Senufo double-headed kpelié mask, Ivory Coast, of oval form, the thin rim pierced for attachment, four projections characteristic for this mask type decorated differently, two almost identical faces, each with a round protruding mouth pointed by a lip, decorated with small squares (the teeth), a narrow pointed nose framed by pierced, very narrow eye slits and geometrical scarification marks around the eyes and forehead, a bulging forehead with a nodule, on top of the mask two small horns and a curved plate with spikes and two human firgures above the forehead; fine dark patina, obvious signs of use and age with partial encrustations.
Kpelie-masks were worn during funeral sessions by the Poro society. These funeral festivities are marked by masquerades, which symbolically expresses the fundamental dualities in Senufo Thought: male/female, body/spirit, life/death. In general this type of mask is symbolizing an ideal woman. The unique features which characterize the Kpelié mask include elongated flanges radiating from the bottom part of the mask, which are a reference to the hornbill bird. The horns on the mask refer to the ram, an important sacrificial animal. The nodules on the forehead represent palm nuts as well as vulvas; they are flanked by cicatrization marks that symbolize the twins born to the primordial couple. The significance of the double face are not known, but double- and single- faced Kpelié are used interchangably. Facing the Mask, Herreman, Frank, Museum for African Art. s. publ.
Lit.: Holas, Bohumil, L'art sacré sénoufo. Ses différentes expressions dans la vie sociale, Limoges, 1978. Herreman, Frank, Facing the Mask, Museum for African Art, New York, 2002. Till Foerster, Divination bei den Kafibele-Senufo. Zur Aushandlung und Bewältigung von Alltagskonflikten, Berlin, 1985. Wolfgang Jaenicke, Forbidden games. Kat. Ausst. Die Kunst der Senufo: Elfenbeinküste. Mit einem Beitrag von Till Förster, Staatliche Museen der Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Museum für Völkerkunde Berlin, 16.11.1990 - 24.2.1991, Berlin 1990; Lorenz Homberger: Künstler in Werkstätten der Senufo. In: Eberhard Fischer/Lorenz Homberger: Afrikanische Meister. Kunst der Elfenbeinküste, Zurüch 2014, p. 151-178; Die Kunst der Senufo, Museum Rietberg Zürich, aus Schweizer Sammlung, Zürich 1988.
700 - 900,- Euro (incl. stand)
Height: 43 cm Weight: 1,4 kg (incl. stand)
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