Bois sacré — Initiation dans les forêts guinéennes



Bois sacré
Initiation dans les forêts guinéennes

Past: March 4 → May 18, 2014

On the African continent, the initiation ceremony marks a mandatory rite of passage for each individual. For some countries in western Africa, it is the Poro initiation which plays a primordial role in a number of communities in the region. The exhibition examines in particular the secret societies of the Guinean forests: Liberia, Guinea, Ivory Coast.

Masque initiation poro quai branly medium
Population Toma, Masque de l’initiation du Poro Bois sculpté — 43,5 × 23,5 × 12,8 cm — 1291 g © musée du quai Branly — Photo © Claude Germain
For the Toma, the generic term Poro designates “the mask”. The manifestation of power, which is held only by certain individuals, is manifest by the objects involved in the initiations, and primarily in the masks which play a central role. The Toma — also known as the Loma — are considered in western Africa as the creators of Poro, an organisation which was inaugurated in around the 16th century. The Poro was then adopted and adapted by other populations located geographically relatively close to the Toma.
Masque anthropomorphe poro quai branly medium
Population Toma, Masque anthropomorphe Face humaine allongée et pourvue d’une barbe, nez incurvé allongé, ailes du nez figurées latéralement, yeux pédonculés, cylindriques en cuivre (diam. 2 cm) fixés par de la cire — 45 × 16 × 15 cm — 841 g © Musée du quai Branly — Photo © Claude Germain

The exhibition evokes the origins of the initiatory system of the Poro, the initiation ceremony and finally the history of the collection of these objects whose power resides in secrecy. It will present a number of masks linked to initiation, and in particular the different types of Toma masks, together with other objects, miniature masks, figurines and statues, relating to these mysterious societies.

07 Paris 7 Zoom in 07 Paris 7 Zoom out

37, quai Branly

75007 Paris

T. 01 56 61 70 00

Alma – Marceau

Opening hours

Tuesday & Wednesday, Sunday, 11 AM – 7 PM
Thursday – Saturday, 11 AM – 9 PM

Admission fee

Full rate €9.00 — Concessions €7.00

Billet jumelé (collections permanentes et expositions temporaires) : tarif plein 11 € / tarif réduit 9 €

Venue schedule

The artist

  • Population Toma