Occupying a large area of West Africa that spans the national boundaries of Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, and Burkina Faso, the Senufo peoples form a complex network comprising more than thirty subgroups with many local variations of language and custom. Three broad cultural divisions reflect differences in dialect and sculptural style: the southern Senufo in the region around the town of Katiola; the northern Senufo in the vicinity of the Malian center of Sikasso; and the central Senufo living in the vicinity of Korhogo. Zoomorphic helmet masks, the most prestigious and powerful masks worn by the Senufo men's Poro society members, are worn at funerals of important elders. The mask's aggressive attributes-jaws and teeth like the crocodile's, horns like the great antelope's, and tusks like the warthog's-express the supernatural powers they embody. The primary function of the masquerade is to protect the community against evil; the powers of the masks are directed against human lawbreakers and malevolent spirits.