Zoomorphic Mask

Bamana/Senufo peoples, Ivory Coast

Wood, copper and ivory

Anonymous gift

19.25 x 30.5 x 4 in

This headdress is called Kamalen Sogo Koun — “the animal of young men.” It would have been danced by members of the town youth association, who sing the praises of the mask, comparing it to silver, gold and other tokens of wealth and status. The large curved horns that dominate the piece are suggestive of a bush cow, though the mask includes a second set of the straight horns likely of an oryx, frequently seen in Chi Wara crests. Like Chi Wara, the Kamalen Sogo Koun stresses the virility and agricultural skills of young men as they complete the education cycle of Bamana initiation.

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