Senufo Antelope Helmet Mask

To become Dozo, a young apprentice has a long learning period with a Grand Master. Irreproachable moral conduct is required.

Tribe: Senufo

Origin: Ivory Coast

Approx Age: Later 20th Century

Materials: Wood, antelope horns

Dimensions cm: 73 x 31 x 38 helmet mask size

Ref. Number: 1456

£1650.00

Description:
A stunning and very rare Senufo antelope helmet mask known as ‘Sowei’ this is used in ceremony by a Dozo (hunter) of the ‘Lo Society’ when a fellow hunter has passed away. The horns are from a real antelope. The costume has also been well worn, it has a design of an antelope front and back. This is not an antique but it is authentic and has been used ceremonially on a number of occasions . 

History

These beautiful pieces only come out to be danced at a funeral of a Dozo.
The dances performed by the masks are scary, this is for driving out the evil spirits and to motivate the ancestor’s spirits to they make good welcome to the deceased. The Dozo adhere to this tradition. They come from afar to attend the funeral celebrations of one of their community member.

To become Dozo, a young apprentice has a long learning period with a Grand Master. Irreproachable moral conduct is required. The code Dozo is based on respect for ancestors, honour and obedience to the master. Besides learning hunting, a Dozo apprentice is initiated to the religious rituals.

Dozo hunters make regular offerings to the spirits and fetishes of the bush. They spend considerable time to the preparation of amulets. A hunter Dozo never goes hunting without reciting some secret incantations.

A hunter Dozo is distinguished by the shirt and pants he wears. Both are made of cotton and dyed with natural colours like brown. The Dozo adorns his shirt by various amulets, but also whistles, mirrors, horns of deer and some knives. In addition to its spiritual armour, a hunter Dozo is equipped with a rifle, a small axe, and a slaughtered animal tail transformed into flyswatter.

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