Bonu Amuen mask


Artwork explanation

They use Bonu Amuen to protect the village from outsider threats. The mask is also used during funerals of important male elders, former dancers and chiefs. Danced only at night, it is believed that the mask helps deceased elders become ancestors in the afterlife; these ancestors bring good fortune to the community and aid in the prevention of external threats.

Women are forbidden to look at the mask (even during performances); those that do look risk illness, misfortune or even death. The masks are so sacred that even only a select number of men from a secret society are allowed to see the mask. It is considered taboo for anyone but the dancer to touch the mask.

When not in use, Bonu Amuen masks are kept in a sanctuary outside of the village where they receive sacrifices.

Distinguishing Features:

Forms vary greatly vertically or horizontally, square opening forms the mouth, two curved horns joined at the tips, on top of head, domed forehead, eyes and eyebrows, Ears can be broad or pinched out.


Exhibition history

CAMA Gallery | Cote dIvoires Peoples | Exhibition | Cote d Ivoire

Tehran Gallery

Cote d Ivoire

solo exhibition, 07 December - 27 December


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Bonu Amuen mask - 1900

Carving on wood CoA no. 1812011432272

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