The social, economic and spiritual lives of Senufo men are governed by an overarching initiation society known as Poro. A Senufo man must pass through all stages of the initiation society to be considered a rounded man with full insight into ancestral teachings and traditions.
Each stage of the initiation process has associated masks including the kpeli-yëhë mask (meaning 'face of the jumping performer' in the Kafiri dialect with yëhë meaning 'face'; also called kodöli-yëhë in Kufuru dialect, kpelie meaning 'dead face', kpeliye'e or gpelihe). The kpeli-yëhë mask is used during harvest time to thank the ancestors for a good crop. Considered feminine, the masqueraders wearing the mask also dance during funeral celebrations to honour deceased Senufo elders (alongside the more aggressive wanyugo masquerade) and it is believed that the mask leads the spirit of the deceased away from his home and into the ancestral realm.
NOTE: It is believed that a large number of kpelie masks in the market have been made specifically for the tourist market as souvenirs.