Karnigi Coulibaly, ca. *1890 +1969

From 1913 Karnigi Coulibaly lived with his father, also a Fono, for two years in Ouézomon, and learned how to carve wood. Also he learned how to forge and cast metal. Thought he had no children Karnigi tought his nephew Sécondjewin Dagnogo (born 1935) from Poundiou the skills of a carver.

Beside Tugubele statues, which show the so-called Bagnou-gbôhô hair style, he also carved Kpelié masks. One year before Karnigi died, he told Karl-Heinz Krieg in an interview, that this shown mask is a Kpelié mask that he made for children. This statement is the only documentated reference, that there masks especially for the dance of children during a ceremony. These rare masks are a much smaller than regular Kpelié masks and show no wholes to fix the mask on tissues. These masks were hold in the hand while dancing. They are not passport masks or advices for divination.


Kpelié mask for children, carved by Fono Karnigi Coulibaly, Fodonon. Time of creation 1967. Former Karl-Heinz Krieg Collection.

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



- Wenn Brauch Gebrauch beeinflusst, Markus Ehrhard, page 90 - 91.

- Kunst und Religion bei den Gbato-Senufo, Elfenbeinküste, Karl-Heinz Krieg und Wulf Lohse, page 44 - 45.

- Afrika Begegnung, aus der Sammlung Artur und Heidrun Elmer, page 44 - 45.