Helmet Mask

Helmet Mask

early to mid-1900s

Wood, upholstery studs, and colorant

Overall: 34.9 cm (13 3/4 in.)

Gift of Katherine C. White 1975.152


This type of helmet was worn in rituals demonstrating a boy’s transition from one age group to the next, prior to his actual initiation into the secret Poro society. The pre-initiates were viewed as unknowing and anxious oxen, so the horns on such helmets may refer to those of horned cattle. The female figure alludes to women’s supernatural powers, which assure the welfare of Poro members.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 

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