Bolon Koufen mask (Front view)
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Item : Bolon Koufen mask, Picture : Front view (approx. 17 Kbytes)

This mask was used by the secret initiation dwo society (probably a version of the initiations of the Bamana dyow societies, or of the Senufo poro society) in agricultural ceremonies and competitions. This association is arranged in a hierarchical order of initiation, with complex and esoteric levels of knowledge, and internal subdivisions. After a seven-year waiting period before initiation, this association is divided internally into five age grades, the most senior of which can be entered when the process of initiation has been successfully acquired. The first grade culminates in a ritual in which the candidate is symbolically killed, revived the next day and spends the following week in retreat away from the village.

This very ancient mask was initially entirely covered with repoussé metal sheets.
Probably 18th century or earlier.

Object #2939

Origin :

Burkina Faso (Western area bordering on Mali)

Type :

Masks and headdresses

Ethnic group :


Material :

Very dense brownish wood, micro cracked patina

Size :

W = 7 inches; H = 12.5 inches

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