characteristics of the Toma masks are the
flat forehead, at times decorated with cowry shell and or metal plates,
with carved tribal patterns. The jaw is sometimes articulated, and the
nose is situated directly under arched eyebrows. The mask commonly has
two horns and or a human figure protruding from the top of the head.
The Toma tribe resides along the
borders of Guinea,
Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Poro society of the Toma tribe is
responsible for the initiation of young men. At the start of the initiation program the Landai mask is
introduced which signal that the boys are ready to enter the forest and
travel to their isolated camp. A portion of the young men's training
consists of tribal tradition, principals and moral values. The
boys remain at a forest camp for several months, until they are
initiated as adults into society.
When the group finally completes the initiation camp, the Landai
masks welcomes them back to society. This is a signal that the initiates
have undergone a rebirth and that they are ready to enter tribal life as
men. The graduation ceremony is one of the biggest events in the life of
these males. Upon their arrival, a huge celebration in the village
welcome the young men back home.
The Toma (Loma or Lorma) tribe is
governed by the religious and political views of the Poro Society.