Kono Bird Mask Guinea Côte d'Ivoire
Masks such as this are known among the various peoples of Liberia and the Ivory-Coast (Côte d'Ivoire). This style of horned mask is also found among either the Gio people of Liberia, where it was known as Bla glu, a sheep mask that was involved in the initiation of young boys into Poro. ¬†Representing Ge, who are spirits, they serve as visible symbols manifesting power, principles and deities to explain myths, cosmology and to maintain social order, settle disputes and where necessary declare war and bring peace. They also initiate the young and at times appear to entertain the people. They are used by the men's secret society called Poro as the enforcing arm of local authority and serve to harmonize relations with neighboring villages as Poro is not only local but equally links districts through the appearance of masks.
Poro masks are identified with individual names and specific stylistic attributes. This mask is most probably from the Konor ¬†people who live in Liberia and the Ivory-Coast. Known as Bla Glu, or the sheep ‚Äòge' (spirit), it was a war mask that appeared to start a war or to celebrate a victory. Women and children were never to see it as it was a mask that was most fearsome with its black face and with red cloth around the eyes. As a war mask it provided the magic to protect the warriors and could also call for human sacrifices in the past. Masks such as this had beards made of cord to which beads were attached when the mask appeared. The forehead incorporates the horns of a ram in a wonderfully sculpted form. There is neither red pigment remaining on the face .
Approximate Age: 20th Century