Ivory Coast, of classical form, with numerous appendages and excellent dark rich surface. height 13 1/8in
Provenance: Pace Gallery, NY
Exhibited: Governors State University, IL, 2003 Krannert Art Museum, IL, 2003 Belger Art Foundation/University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, 2004 Tall Grass Art Association, IL, 2005
Published: Bourgeois and Rodolitz, REMNANTS OF RITUAL: SELECTIONS FROM THE GELBARD COLLECTION OF AFRICAN ART, Ethnos, New York, 2003, p.10, fig.24
Masks such as this example were used in funerary contexts within the Poro society among the Senufo. The dancers, imitating womens delicate and graceful gestures, would dance with iron staves toped by three small bells. Though certain uniformity exists within this masking tradition, there are subtle and often graceful variations that can accent the basic structure. This example has down-turned horns and simplified, heavy volumes on its side panels. Crowned by a narrow crest, this mask harmoniously integrates the usual shapes of the standard form into a seemingly simple combination that is deceivingly complex in its balance.