Adoné (Antelope Headdress)

By: Adenike Cosgrove Tagged:


Found in the Aribinda region of the Kurumba ethnic group, adoné headdresses are used to commemorate deceased clan leaders. It is believed that the soul of the deceased elder leaves the body to reside in the specially created headdress, which then becomes an altar for the deceased. Masqueraders wear the headdress during the mourning period to drive the spirit of the deceased out of the village and into the headdress.

As an altar, sacrifices are made and prayers offered to the headdress which also serves as a point of contact with departed ancestors. Some sources point to the mask also representing the heroic antelope that saved the life of the founding elder of the Kurumba ethnic group.

Distinguishing Features

  • Made of hard, heavy wood
  • Naturalistic antelope headdress
  • Slender, long horns, neck and snout
  • Large ears curved slightly towards horns
    • Earlier versions have semi-circular ears
    • Recent versions have long sharp ears
  • Cylindrical neck hollowed at base
  • Pierced at perimeter for attachment of raffia costume
  • Geometric patterns all over surface (checkerboard, triangles, dots)
  • Black, brown, red, yellow or kaolin pigments used on surface

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