20th century
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Mali


Overall: 65 x 15.5 x 18 cm (25 9/16 x 6 1/8 x 7 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art



This mask may be a hyena (Surukuw) mask used during the Kore initiation ritual. It is one of three types of masks associated with the society, the other two being the monkey (Sulaw) and the lion (Jaraw). The Kore initiation society was an important rite of passage for teenage boys. The boys, who were taken from the village and symbolically “killed”, returned to the village as men. During their initiation ritual, would-be initiates were subjected to physical tests as they learned about medicine, sexuality, their relationship with their elders and their ancestors.


1970, acquired in France by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart