The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of February 21, 2024

Helmet Mask

Helmet Mask

possibly early to mid-1900s

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.
  • Robert Jacobsen [1912-1993], Copenhagen, Denmark
    Reginauld Groux, Paris
    ca. 1980s–2005
    Urs Albrecht, Basel, Switzerland
    Ernst Beyeler [1921-2010], Riehen/Basel, Switzerland (as selling agent for Albrecht)
    Private collection, New York, NY
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Gagliardi, Susan Elizabeth, and Constantijn Petridis. Senufo Unbound: Dynamics of Art and Identity in West Africa. Cleveland: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2015. pp. 260-261, fig. 197
  • Senufo: Art and Identity in West Africa. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (February 22-May 31, 2015); Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO (June 28-September 27, 2015); Musée Fabre, Montpellier, France (November 28, 2015-March 6, 2016).
    The Cleveland Museum of Art (2/22/15-5/31/15) Saint Louis Art museum (6/28/15-9/27/15) Musée Fabre,Montpellier, France (11/28/15-3/6/16) "Senufo: Art and identity in West Africa"
  • {{cite web|title=Helmet Mask|url=false|author=|year=possibly early to mid-1900s|access-date=21 February 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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