Tribal art > African mask > Mossi Mask
Large Mossi face mask (N° 18039)
Ex-collection French African tribal art.
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See northern centre of the country Mossi, convex African masks, with a prominent central ridge, are common. This top face mask is part of a set of three male, female and child, which their behavior distinguishes. It is young initiates, elected by the elders, who will wear the masks. The dancer wearing the male mask expresses himself with an aggressive pantomime and wields a long whip. A thick, plant-fibre adornment, absent from this copy, usually conceals the tubular growth of the top. Grainy matte patina, very locally flaked. Mossi masks, personal or lineage, are an embodiment of guardian spirits offering their support. They perform at funerals, at the funerals of clan leaders, protect crops. True altars without their costume, they can receive libations such as millet beer in order to honor the ancestors. Their appearance is now common during entertainment shows. Upper Volta, Burkina Faso since independence, is composed of descendants of the Nakomse invaders, horsemen from Ghana, and the Tengabibisi, descendants of the natives. Among them, farmers and blacksmiths, saaba , used masks, wando, receptacles of the guardian spirits, which often represented the totem animals of the clan.
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