Zoomorphic 'Poro Society' Mask

Guinea, Toma People
20th Century, On View
Boca Raton Museum of Art

Known as Loma People in Liberia and Toma People in Guinea, the Toma People reside along the borders of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. This mask is known as a Landa mask and is said to represent the bush spirit of Poro, as it combines elements of an animal, the turned in horns at the top of the head, with that of a human face. The overall simplification of detail is majestic with the eyes expressed as simple circles under heavy brows and a slab-like nose. Cowry shells and talons form a decorative band across the forehead with a secondary band of cowries in front of the claw. Also, the bird claw holding an amulet bag over the head.

Lesson Plans

Zoomorphic Poro Society Mask Guinea
Lesson Plan (K-5):
Lesson Plan (6-8):


Zoomorphic 'Poro Society' Mask, Guinea, Toma People, wood, cowry shells and bird talon, 48 x 14 in., Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Steinman, 1993.141