A Senufo Kpelie mask, Eastern Boundiali region, feature delicate oval faces with geometric projections at the sides. Raised and incised scarification patterns ornament their smooth, glossy surfaces, surmounted by a curved panel with spikes, the masks honor deceased Senufo elders with their grace and beauty.
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: mal/female, body, spitit, life/death. In general this type of mask is symbolizing an ideal woman. The unique features which characterize the Kpelie 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 Kpelie are used interchangably.
Holas, B., L´Art Sacré Sénoufo, Limoges, 1978, Facing the Mask, Herreman, Frank, Museum for African Art. s. publ.
500 – 600,- Euro
Height: 29 cm
Weight: 370 g