Senufo Kponyungo

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Senufo Kponyungo

£2,500.00

Firespitter Mask
Ivory Coast
Carved wood
87 x 28cm

Product Description

Firespitter Mask
Ivory Coast
Carved wood
87 x 28cm

The Senufo live in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and the extreme south of Mali. Impressive helmet masks abound in the region with sculptors carving works intended to incite fear by making visual references to powerful animals, including crocodiles, warthogs, and antelopes. Not associated with any single animal, the more aggressive kponyugo helmet masks foster spectators’ uncertainty and apprehension. The mask’s open jaws and sharp teeth appear ready to devour its prey visually underscoring its ferocity. The “Firespitting” reference comes from the practice of the mask wearer shouting in a high-pitched tone, proceeded by blowing out through the mouth a small blast of glowing sparks and little flames from small pieces of resin coated grass and bark.
Due to the aggressive and combative nature of the helmet masks and their performances, women and children are encouraged not to look upon them, for fear of consequences.