A Senufo zoomorphic helmet mask, Kponyungo, Ivory Coast, a large open crocodile-like mouth with sharp teeth, horns on the ridge of the nose, warthog tusks emerge from the jaw, at the back of the helmet carved antelope horns, the mask is surmounted by a hornbill eating a chameleon; the surface of the mask painted with silver and brown pigments, traces of age and ritual use, incl. stand.
“Sculptors carve works intended to incite fear by making visual references to powerful animals, including crocodiles, warthogs, and antelopes. The aggressive imagery artists create in helmet masks like this one contrasts with their more delicate handling of kpeliye’e face masks. Not associated with any single animal, kponyugo helmet masks foster spectators’ uncertainty and apprehension. The mask’s open jaws and sharp teeth appear ready to devour its prey and thus visually underscore its ferocity. Members of poro and other fraternal associations in the region don composite helmet masks and full-body outfits during funerals and on other occasions to punish human lawbreakers and deter malevolent spirits.”
Lit.: Die Kunst der Senufo, Museum Rietberg Zürich, aus Schweizer Sammlung, Zürich 1988; Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi: Senufo unbound. Dynamics of art and identity in West Africa, Cleveland 2015; MetMusuem, Collection, Helmet Mask (Kponyugo).
900 – 1.200,- Euro
Width: 84 cm
Weight: 5,90 kg (incl. stand).