Lot: 249

99th Auction

Helmet "dagu" for the "niyuo" dance

Côte d'Ivoire, Gbato - Senufo

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
German Collection H: 15 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, pigments, resin/ wax,

"Dagu" helmets performed at "niyuo" performances, which consisted of an extensive programme of songs and dances and were related to initiation rites of the "poro" society. The initiates had to endure tests of courage and mocking chants. Chants with invocations of the ancestral spirits also became known.

For their performance, the "dagu" helmets were decorated with cowries and red seeds and had a long cowrie-ornamented sash hanging down the dancer's back. Sometimes they were also dressed up with mirrors or feathers. Strings of beads hung down in front of the face. The headdress was complemented by an elaborate costume, so that the dancers presented a splendid image.

The kauris still had monetary value among the Gbato. Before each "niyuo" season, kauri money was collected in the village to trim the helmets. After the performance, everyone got their share back and the helmets were kept undecorated.

Krieg, K.-H. & W. Lohse, "Kunst und Religion bei den Gbato-Senufo, Elfenbeinküste", Hamburg 1981, p. 90 ff.