Tribal art > African mask > Bwa Mask
Bwa Mask (N° 18273)
This imposing mask linked to the blacksmiths' society hombo has a rectangular mouth representing the forge. The right nose evokes the Peul woman, and the horns evoke the qualities associated with the bush antelope. Among the Mossi, a mask named wan-balinga takes up some of these features, including the goatee, symbolizing a mythical-bearded woman, mother of the first Mossi king. Ancient traces of polychromy. Height on a base: 75 cm.
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The African art sculptures of the Bobo, Bwa, Kurumba and Mossi, living in Burkina Faso, frequently pick up and combine stylized elements borrowed from humans, animals or insects. It is the spirits of nature that are supposed to determine the well-being and prosperity of an individual, and adversity will be seen as the result of neglect of collective rites. It is therefore during different celebrations that the mask will personify a spirit of nature or that of an ancestor in order to influence the daily lives of members of the ethnic group. They appear to honor the dead during funeral rites, and to escort souls to the realm of the dead. They also occur at agricultural festivals in order to ensure the progression of the seasons, so during the initiation rites will they introduce young people to the responsibilities of adult life.
Litt.: The Other Face Ed. Adam Biro (p.56) and Mossi Ed. 5Continents.
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