Our page banner is a detail of a Senufo mask which is to be found in the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso and South Mali.
Photo: (Creative Commons) © Roman Bonnefoy
The Yohure are noted for their beautifully crafted masks that combine human and animal features.
They have elaborate hairstyles which often include horns, elongated faces with a high forehead, arched eyebrows and a low protruding mouth. The face of a Yohure mask is outlined with triangular zigzag designs.
Yohure masks are used in dance rituals to help villagers come to terms with the death of one of their people. The masks represent the Yu spirits who restore the social balance after a bereavement.
These masks are considered very powerful and dangerous objects. They must be kept out of sight of women for fear of the effects that the supernatural powers of the Yu spirits may have on them.
The Yohure live in the central region of the Ivory Coast to the east of the city of Bouafle.