This “legendary first ruler” mask was constructed by the Senufo People of the Nation of Ivory Coast. This mask is utilized during initiation rituals of the Senufo men’s, Poro Association. By cultural tradition, the wearer of this mask escorts pubescent boys into a “school” deep in the forest bush, and when initiation rituals are complete, he announces their return to the village. As a spiritual overseer of the Poro initiation ceremony, the wearer then symbolically devours the youths – who are believed to be reborn from his stomach. The prominent teeth and oval mouth allude to this ritual devouring. Moreover, the mask’s iconography represents opposing forces of nature and civilization. as expressed by the mask’s great size and gorilla-like mouth. The process of stylizing and preserving the form of such objects requires a deep knowledge of craft as transmitted via oral tradition through centuries.