H9Y8M273S.jpg (29300 bytes)H9Y8M273.jpg (33910 bytes)Yohure (Snan, Yaoure, Yaure), Côte d’Ivoire

Cereminial mask.  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 spirit – by way of the masks – can counter. The present mask is a member of the je mask series of the men’s initiation association. The mask combines animal and human features in an emblematic evocation of one of the “spirit powers” of the bush which the Yohure call yu. As intermediaries between man and god (Bali), yu are sacrificed to during times of peril and when there is a threat to the social order. The je masks, as evocations of yu, are considered to be extremely powerful objects and very dangerous to touch outside their ritual context. Mythological sanction absolutely prohibits women from seeing the masks and from attending the funeral rites at which they appear.

Material:  wood

Size:    H. 15½”, W. 6½”, D. 3”