Senufo Kponiugo Firespitter Helmet Mask

SKU PF.1254
Circa

20th Century AD

Dimensions

12.5″ (31.8cm) high x 31″ (78.7cm) wide

Medium

Wood

Origin

Northern Ivory Coast, Mali

Gallery Location

USA


 

Senufo masks called kponiugo or firespitters represent a mythical being who protects the community from sorcerers and soul stealers. He is depicted with the jaws of a hyena, the tusks of a wart hog, the horns of an antelope, and the ears of a gazelle. Appropriately the mask is intended to recall the chaos before the world was set in order. Between the horns are a hornbill and snake, two of the primordial animals. These masks appear in groups after dark and seem to spit fire, for tinder is held in a cleft stick in front of the mouth, causing sparks to spew forth from the mask

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