Not Visible to the Naked Eye: Inside a Senufo Helmet Mask

November 23, 2019 to March 21, 2021 | Conservation Gallery
Senufo peoples, helmet mask (komo), mid-20th century, wood, glass, animal horns, fiber, mirrors, iron, and other materials, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of David T. Owsley, 1997.24

The DMA’s Conservation and Arts of Africa departments, in an exciting and cutting-edge collaboration with UT Southwestern Medical Center, will present CT scans of a Senufo helmet mask from the Museum’s African art collection. This kind of mask is worn like a helmet by a medium at initiations, funerals, harvest celebrations and secret events conducted by the powerful male-only Komo society, which has traditionally maintained social and spiritual harmony in Senufo villages in Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Visible attachments on the mask include a female figure, cowrie shells, and imported glassware. The CT-scans reveal unexpected materials beneath the surface and objects contained in the attached animal horns that empower the mask.

Dr. Matthew A. Lewis and Dr. Todd Soesbe, faculty members of the Department of Radiology at the Medical School of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, assisted with this exhibition.

Focus Installation
Admission is FREE.