Creolizing Currents: Bambara

Hyena Mask, Sukuru
Bamana People, Mali
Wood, mirror
Lent by the Robbins Center for Cross Cultural Communication

Masks representing hyenas, monkeys and other animals are worn by young initiates during annual ceremonies of the Kore Society, a men's organization associated with agriculture. This mask represents a hyena, an animal seen as a cruel unclean scavenger, gluttonous and dangerous to society. The bulbous forehead suggests incipient knowledge. At this level, initiates are made aware of the quantity of knowledge they lack which they will gain as they rise through the succeeding levels of the society.

The New Orleans African American Museum (NOAAM) is located in Faubourg Treme, at 1418 Governor Nicholls Street, phone (504) 566-1136.

Generous assistance provided by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation.