About this object

History of use

Dog mask used in healing ceremony to represent Hiri or Riri Yaka/blood yaka or Mahasona/great cemetery devil. Both derived from legends concerning demons who haunted cemeteries killing and devouring victims. The gods intervened, forcing the demons to inflict illness rather than death. Victims could be healed through rituals and offerings in ceremonial dances directed by the edura/healer.

Cultural context


Iconographic meaning

Animal mask with blood around his mouth represents a blood-yakka, or cemetery devil who attacks people, sucks their blood, or digs up and devours corpses.

Physical description

Mask representing a dog's head. The head has been painted black with red eyes, nostrils, inner ears, and lips. Red paint drips extend down from the eyes and the dog's open mouth. The dog's white teeth are jagged, and jute fibre ? tufts attached around the mouth form whiskers and a beard.