Genres of the Kpelié: The acrobat

Senufo Kpelié mask acrobat, unkown carver, region of Korhogo
Acrobat Kpelié mask, unknown carver, region of Korhogo

In generell, the Kpelié mask is a mask that should entertain, it is not an evil or bad mask. In some books you can read the definition, that the name itself means face on an acrobat or comedien. But talking to carvers, they all say, Kpelié is a face of wood.


But certainly one of the genres of the Kpelié is the character of the entertainer. Everyone at the venue, like a harvest fest, is allowed to see this character, who has acrobatic elements in his perfomance.


The mask obove does show a bended male body as center top. Obviously the acrobat: The figure can hold its head between his knees. Also interesting is the cotton fabric. Narrow stripes from Sudanese weaving loom are handstitched, edge on edge, together and amount to large scarf that covers neck and shoulders of the dancer. The ruged cotton, parts are colored blue, is very soft.


Kpelié mask, genre of the acrobat. Collected by Souleymane Arachi, Korhogo, in San, region of Tingrela.

14,0 x 7,5 x 6,0 cm, wood, cotton cloth.



- Wenn Neuordnung Ordnung schafft, Markus Ehrhard, pages 148 - 151.


Copyright content and images by Markus Ehrhard