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Toma Landai Mask - Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia

Toma Landai MaskThe 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.

Common 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 Toma (Loma or Lorma) tribe is governed by the religious and political views of the Poro Society.