Our page banner is a detail of a mask with seven horns from a workshop in the Guro area of the Ivory Coast.
Photo: (Creative Commons) © Nicolas Guérin
Senufo masks are created by specialist artists who live apart from the rest of their village. Senufo masks combine features of animals and humans in a single design.
The Senufo artists have a high status in their society as their masks and sculptures are believed to have the power to help communication between the living and their dead ancestors.
Senufo masks are used in the rites of the Poro society, a male organization that educates young men in the traditions and responsibilities necessary for their coming of age.
The Senufo worship their ancestors, particularly Kolotyolo - the ‘Ancient Mother’ who is holds so much power that she has to be carefully approached through intervention by lesser gods.
The Senufo are a farming people of over 1,000,000 that stretch across various bordering countries in West Africa including the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso and South Mali.