Lot: 131

97th Auction

Body mask of "poro" society

Guinea, Koranko

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
American Collection H: 31.1 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, cloth, cord material, clay-like mass, missing parts (outer horns)

Neill Carey wrote a paper on these masks in 2007, locating them among the Koranko, a Mande-speaking ethnic group living in the mountainous regions of the Guinea Highlands.

Masks of the "poro" represent bush spirits called "nyenne" by the Koranko. They are worn vertically on the back and serve to visually distinguish the age grades / ranks within society (boys, men and elders).

The present mask belongs to the Men's Poro. Two pairs of horns, as well as the magical charge hidden under fabric on the forehead identify it as an extremely powerful mask.

Carey, Neil, Masks of the Koranko Poro, 2007, p. 22, Fig. 4. Ethnos Publications, Amherst.