A Senufo 'Kunugbaha' helmet mask
browse these categories for related items...
Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: African: Sculpture: Pre 1940: item # 1184360
Please refer to our stock # S197134 when inquiring.
michael cichon tribal arts
P.O. Box 5919
Bradenton, FL 34281
Price and further provenance on request
|Worn during nighttime funeral rites, these zoomorphic helmet masks belong to the Senufo men's associations and are believed to represent mythological animals called upon during anti-witchcraft ceremonies. Their purpose is to chase away evil from the recently departed and to safely guide their soul to the land of the dead. The ubiquitous chameleon, symbolizing the ability to adapt and survive in West African belief systems, is shown stylized but typically perched on the top of the head. This fine example measures 18" in length x 9" wide and has red and white painted highlights over a darkened surface. Metal pieces have been attached for eyes, adding to the potency of this particular mask, and emphasizing its vaguely hyena-like appearance. Condition is very good, though there are several, old (now stable) age cracks at front and back of the lower helmet portion. One of these cracks shows village repair lovingly done with cut, aluminum staple forms. Otherwise, the mask shows good wear and age as would be expected for such an old object. Early 20th century, from Ivory Coast. Provenance: Fran Beasley collection, St. Petersburg, FL, since 1974.|