Senufo Openwork Headdress
Wood, Pigment, upholstery nails ca. 20th century
H. 68 x W. 26 in. Approximately
The Senufo artists carved openwork designs into the planks and painted them with geometric patterns similar to those found on textiles. Pierced panels like this one commonly feature stylized human, animal, or nature spirit figures at the center. The Senufo artists of northern Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) produce a rich variety of sculptures. These sculptures are typically associated with Poro, a society guided by “the Ancient Mother”, a female ancestral spirit. Adult Senufo men all belong to Poro. During initiations into Poro, young men are taught through the use of these sculptural figures. The society maintains the religious and historical traditions of the past.