TITLE: Senufo Kponyugo
TYPE: crest mask
GENERAL REGION: Africa
COUNTRY: Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
DESCRIPTION: Kponyugo Mask
CATALOG #: AFCI026
CEREMONY: Funeral; Protection/Purification; Secret Society; Social Control
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: n/a
The Senufo people and reside primarily in Côte d’Ivoire, with some also living in Burkina Faso and Mali. Among their many masking traditions is the kponyugo, or firespitter mask. Its literal meaning is “head of one who died,” and it is used primarily by the Poro secret society at funerals, to drive away evil spirits and punish human malefactors. The mask combines attributes of multiple fierce animals, such as the hyena and warthog (both dominant here), crocodile, ram, and antelope. Women and children are counseld not to look at the kponyugo due to its ferocity.
This mask was acquired by a generous gift from an anonymous donor.