Kponiugo Mask

Accession Number

Kponiugo Mask


Artist Nationality
Senufo (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
wood, brass tacks and kaolin

11 in x 8 11/16 in x 18 7/8 in (28 cm x 22 cm x 48 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase assisted by the Friends of the Museum of Art

Label copy
Senufo helmet masks are the senior and most "dangerous" of Poro Society masks. Worn by the highest-ranking males, they embody supernatural powers and knowledge of magical formulae.The southern Senufo, Fodonon group, use a baboon or antelope-baboon helmet mask called Gbôn. The most senior masquerader of the men's Poro Society (also called Pondo) wears it with a full raffia costume, grasping a long walking stick associated with women elders.The Gbôn masquerade takes place during the final funeral ceremony of a male elder. Two Pondo society members approach the house of the deceased on their knees, in respect and submission. Rising, they lean on their walking sticks, shaking and trembling like very old people in reference to the many generations of ancestors. One of the maskers, shaking a long raffia sleeve, pretends to remove some of the thatch from the roof of the dead one's house. Since a house without a roof is no longer lived in, the deceased's life among them is finished, and his spirit should move on to the ancestral world. Afterwards, the Gbôn maskers leave upright, walking vigorously.

Primary Object Classification
Wood and Woodcarving

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

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masks (costume)

& Author Notes

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