Square painted mask with cylindrical mouth, spear shaped nose, 10 in. beak protruding from forehead; mask is surmounted by a female figure with bent knees and arms above head holding a vessel on her head

Hornbill mask, early 20th century

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The Putnam Dana McMillan Fundexpand_more  95.1

Very long ago, according to Dogon mythology, a woman stumbled across a group of masked supernatural beings. Startled, they fled and left behind their masks and costumes, which the woman brought to her village. The men grew jealous, stole the masks from her, and made masking an exclusively male prerogative. The woman, called Yasigine (“sister of the masks”), is remembered by this type of mask—that’s her on top—representing the hornbill, whose picking of grains and stirring of dust is mimicked by the dancer during his performance.

Details
Title
Hornbill mask
Role
Artist
Accession Number
95.1
Curator Approved

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Square painted mask with cylindrical mouth, spear shaped nose, 10 in. beak protruding from forehead; mask is surmounted by a female figure with bent knees and arms above head holding a vessel on her head