F2S7S745.jpg (40031 bytes)Senufo (Senoufo, Siena, Sienna), Cte d’Ivoire

Ceremonial bird (porpianong). This large ethnic group is concentrated in the north-central and western sections of the Cte d’Ivoire, with outlying groups extending northward into Mali and Burkina Faso and southward toward their costal neighbors, the Guro and Baule. The Senufo style varies as widely as the tribe’s geographic spread. In former times many of the men’s secret Poro societies in the Senufo region owned a large standing sculpture of the bird. These statues kept in the sacred forest were used in the rites for the admission of initiates to the final phase of training. The identification of this bird is uncertain. These statues are called kasingele, ‘the first ancestor’, which may refer either to the mythological founder of the human race or to the ancestral founder of the sacred forest. Its alternate name is porpianong, which means literally ‘mother of the Poro child’. The statue is thus a primary symbol of the Poro leadership, indicating the authority of its elders.

Material: wood

Size: 27”x 14”x 14”

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