H7Y9M896.jpg (43776 bytes)Cereminial lo mask. The 20,000 Yohure inhabit the central region of the Côte d’Ivoire. For the Yohure, the masks are representations of the yu spirits, intermediates between Bali, the supreme creator, and humankind. The majority of Yohure masks play a fundamental role in restoring order to a society deeply distressed by bereavement. Indeed, a death throws the village out of balance, and only the intervention of the yu – by way of their lo masks – can counter. In order for the yu to be able to liberate their purifying powers, it is necessary for man to court their favor. The yu masks may be benevolent or, conversely, extremely dangerous; thus, it is necessary to appease them via sacrifices offered to their masks. The lo masks appear during funeral ceremonies. Women may not participate in funeral ceremonies, neither may they look at the masks, for fear that this encounter with death might jeopardize their fecundity. This means that before starting the village’s purification rituals related to a death, for prudence sake the women are gotten out of the way. In addition to this purifying function, the masks are also used to guide the deceased’s soul to the world of the dead, and to assure him the status of an ancestor protective of his descendants. This is of the utmost importance, for there is nothing as dangerous or disquieting as an errant soul loose in the village. The outline of the mask is characteristically surrounded by a serrated edge. The function of each type of mask is not rigidly fixed.

Material:  wood

Size:  H. 16½”, W. 9½”, D. 7”

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