Nov 28, 2011

Helmet Mask

Helmet Mask

possibly early to mid-1900s

Wood and organic materials

Overall: 36 cm (14 3/16 in.)

Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2011.196

Did you know?

This mask likely depicts a hyena, an animal known for its intellect and knowledge of the bush.


Belonging to the Kono association, one of the Bamana people’s most powerful men’s groups, this mask’s shape seems to evoke the hyena, an animal reputed for its intelligence and its knowledge of the bush. The Kono’s main task is to offer its members protection against witchcraft. It is also responsible for fostering fertility, solving conflicts, disciplining troublemakers, and sentencing criminals. Masquerades are among the Kono’s most public expressions; the mask’s performance is characterized by energy and vigor.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 

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