Collection

Large Animal Helmet Mask

Large Animal Helmet Mask

Bobo, Mali.
Early 20th Century,
Wood, Pigment, 32½" x 9½".

This mask is similar to many large, stylized masks found in the region representing various animal forms, such as antelope or alligator. Due to its elongated facial shape, flattened snout, and the vertical crest-protrusion running along the skull, this piece is believed to represent a wild pig, boar or hog. The painted geometric pattern seen across the sculpted head, face, and snout is reminiscent of varying hair patterns of many local creatures.

The cultural context for wearing this mask references men's initiation rituals. In the Bobo culture, masks represent some characteristic of the deity Dwo, the son of the earth's creator and who is the helper of mankind.

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Large Animal Helmet Mask

Large Animal Helmet Mask

Bobo, Mali