My dusty old Kponyungo

[E1] Kponyungo (firespitter)

[E1] Kponyungo (firespitter)

While changing around the Tribal African Art geography of the mancave I latched on to a couple of old Kponyungo (known as firespitter masks). These masks usually have a bird biting a chameleon between the horns at the back, and warthog horns, with fierce teeth at the front. This mask-type is one of my favorites, and brings to mind tales of dragons and such like but in reality they served a very important function in village life.

[E2] Senufo Tribe - Kponyungo

[E2] Senufo Tribe – Kponyungo

Primarily used by the Senufo Tribe, via the Poro society the masks were part of ceremonies related to chasing spirits of the dead away from the village. “If this force is allowed to roam freely, it could bring back the original chaos”. [1] It also didn’t hurt that the masks were intimidating and scary looking, allowing the members of the group to develop impressive rituals.

[E3] Senufo Tribe - Kponyungo

[E3] Senufo Tribe – Kponyungo

Needless to say they come in a wide variety of size, colors, and shapes. Collecting Tribal African Art is hardly boring to say the least.

[E4] Complex Kponyungo

[E4] Complex Kponyungo

This is an older piece, missing the chameleon and bird, but the aging process has developed it into a piece with lots of character.

[E4] Very Old Kponyungo

[E4] Very Old Kponyungo

[1] The Dance, Art, and Ritual of Africa; Michel Huet, p.105


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