Ligbe Mask (Yangaleya Mask)


Ivory Coast

The Ligbe are the Islamized communities who live as traders and artisans among non-Moslem groups in extensive areas of northern Ivory Coast. They are known for an institution called Do, one of whose most prominent public manifestations is colorful masquerade dancing. This custom is still practiced on important Islamic holidays, especially at the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. The feast goes on for several days. The performance of the maskers is accompanied by drums, singing and dancing, it expresses the joy of the faithful that the period of fasting is over. Prayers and sacrifices alternate for a full week before the assembled village.

The Yangaleya masks are danced in honor of distinguished holy men, and their performances mark the end of the Ramadan celebrations. The masqueraders are greatly admired for the grace of their dance movements, which they perform in pairs and in perfect harmony. Yangaleya masks are also respected for their positive qualities attributed to the yangaleya bird (hornbill), whose behavior and family life are considered exemplary by the Ligbe. They attribute great importance to this bird, considering it one of mythical primeval animals, an attendant on the souls of the dead and a symbol of fertility.


Height : 12″ (30.5cm)