Yohure (Snan, Yaoure, Yaure), Côte dIvoire
Lo ceremonial mask. The Yohure masks are considered emblems of yu spirits, very dangerous; they have to be handled with extreme caution. Cases of death that jeopardize the social order are the principal occasions for an appearance of masqueraders. By means of their dance, they restore the social equilibrium of the community and accompany the deceased into the ancestral realm. These masks are worn predominantly on two occasions: the je celebration and the lo funeral ceremony. The first purifies the village after a death and helps the deceased's soul on its way to a final resting place. 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 villages purification rituals related to a death, for prudence sake the women are gotten out of the way. With the aid of such masks, the people hope to influence supernatural powers, or yu spirits, that can do harm to humans, but that can also ensure their welfare. Painted masks are mainly worn by dancers during this ceremony, while for lo funeral ceremony, masks covered with black pigments appear. The function of each type of mask is not rigidly fixed, which leads to their appearance during either ceremony.
Size: H. 16, W. 6, D. 3½