The Senufo produce a rich variety of sculptures, mainly associated with the Poro society, to which adult men belong and which maintains the continuity of religious and historical traditions, especially through the cult of the ancestors. The kpelie is an ancestor mask, which is used at the ceremony of the lo society which governed the social life of the tribe. Although the occasions on which it is used may differ, it always represents the face of a female ancestor with formerly common tatooes, closely connected to the society’s origin. According to one source, the kpelie is said to remind initiates of human imperfection. Worn at a funeral, the kpelie masks serve to compel the spirit of the deceased to leave the house.
Exhibited at the "Fertile, Frightful, Divine"show. New Brunswick, NJ. July 2011
Stand is available separately