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Face Mask (Kpeliye'e)

A work made of wood and pigment.

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  • A work made of wood and pigment.

Date:

Early/mid-20th century

Artist:

Senufo
Boundiali, northern Côte d’Ivoire
Northern Africa and the Sahel

About this artwork

This face mask was made by a specialized carver for the powerful all-male Poro association, which governs life and death in Senufo communities. Danced at initiations and funerals, it represents ideal womanhood even though only a man can wear it. The mask’s glossy, black surface mimics the oiled, smooth, firm skin that is the hallmark of a pica, a beautiful young woman who is ready for marriage. Its femininity also emerges in the choreography, which includes exaggerated hip movements.

Status

On View, Gallery 137

Department

Arts of Africa

Culture

Senufo

Title

Face Mask (Kpeliye'e)

Place

Côte d'Ivoire (Object made in)

Date

1900–1950

Medium

Wood and pigment

Dimensions

34.3 × 17.8 × 9.5 cm (13 1/2 × 7 × 3 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Anita Glaze

Reference Number

2018.548

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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