Korikaariye, Gourd, skin, wood, Senufo People


19th century
Ivory Coast
Senufo People
Gourd, skin, wood
25 3/8 × 10 13/16 × 15 3/4 in. (64.4 × 27.5 × 40 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of The Center for Musical Antiquities, 1983
Accession Number:
Not on view
Used by Senufo Sando diviners to appeal to madebele spirit entities, this bridge-harp plays a central role in divinations and helps achieve a state of extrasensory transcendence. Through call and response, the music of the korikaariye seduces the spirits with its beauty and summons them to consult with the diviner. The female figure rising out of the calabash resonator forms the bridge of this instrument. She is thought to be a sculptural representation of a bush spirit, an idealized woman with an elaborate crested hair style.

The hide strings, like the figural bridge through which they pass, are vertically aligned with the belly; a stringing technique, found along Africa's west coast from Senegal to Angola. African classifications and names of instruments vary from people to people: this instrument is known as sanku (upper Guinea), kasso (Gambia), simbing (Mali), and kora (Senegal). The carved female figure is similar to those found on Senufu rhythm pounders and staffs; it represents a primordial mother image.
Center for Musical Antiquities