TOMA, LANDAI MASK 5, Guinea

 

Photographs © Tim Hamill

TOMA
LANDAI MASK 5
25" high
$400, Guinea

These brooding, often quite large, masks represent a forest spirit, Landai. They were used by the men's Poro Society to initiate boys into manhood. The masks, in what was often a frightening ritual for the boys, would symbolically swallow the boy, who would then re-emerge as a man. The masks were worn with a large raffia costume. Most have a flat face, the traditional beaked nose, jaws of teeth, protruding brow and horns.

Despite its appearance this Toma mask shows no evidence of age or use and was probably made to be sold.

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