Mask of the Do society. The
Islamized communities who live as traders and artisans among non-Moslem groups in
extensive areas of northern Côte d'Ivoire are known for an institution called Do,
one of whose most striking public manifestations is colorful masquerade dancing. In this
type of masks, human features are combined with the powerful bill of the hornbill bird.
They are danced during the funerals of distinguished Muslim holy men, and their
performances mark critical moments during the Muslim calendar year, and at the end of
Ramadan, the month-long Islamic fast. The masqueraders are greatly admired for the grace
of their dance movements, which they perform in pairs and in perfect unison. They are also
valued for the positive qualities ascribed to the hornbill, whose behavior and family life
are considered exemplary by the Ligbi. They attach great importance to this bird,
considering it one of mythical primeval animals, an attendant on the souls of the dead and
a symbol of fertility.
H. 12, W. 7, D. 7