Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

  • Senufo peoples
  • sculpture, late 1800s–1975
  • Where object was made: Côte d'Ivoire
  • wood, carving
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 103 x 23.5 x 24 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 40 1/2 x 9 1/4 x 9 7/16 in
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Kenneth Palmer
  • Not on display
  • 2007.3161

The carved wooden sculpture has three stacked elements on a small round base. The bottom figure has a human-like body, bent forward with arms clasped at the back. The head is elongated, with the neck at the top, and hangs at the level of the figure's knees. There is a single spike-like projection from the forehead, with small flap ears on either side. The face is a human face, with an "X" (each leg a grid design) centered on the bridge of the nose.

The figure second from the bottom is a kepeli-yehe mask. It is a human-like face with a very pointed chin and two leg-like projections from the cheeks. The mask has semi-circular ears, and two triangular flaps (like cat ears) at the top of the head. The face is decorated with a series of gridded rows: two on the forehead, directed toward the top of the nose, two nearly horizontal rows above the eyebrows, one in each ear (semi-circular and triangular) and a bent row on each cheek. It has eye slits, a long narrow nose, and prominent lips.

The top element is a scene: two human figures (standing on the kpeli-yehe mask) carry a supine figure on a surface, possibly a bier. All three figures have elongated faces. The standing figures have very prominently pointed bellies.