H: 34 inches, W: 11 inches, D: 11 inches
Materials: Wood, Cloth, Hair, Metal, Shells, twine
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The Toma people, numbering about 200,000 occupy the eastern part of Guinea, and northwest of Liberia in the high altitude rain forest.
The Poro Association, which is responsible for the young boys, and is led by the “Landai” the major forest spirit, initiates the boys into adulthood. The King who wears the headdress represents the spirit, who symbolically devours the boys at the end of their initiation period in order to give them rebirth as men.
The materials used to create this late 19th century masterpiece are emblems of power; and they incorporate elements of wisdom, prestige and authority.