African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kurumba mask
Kurumba mask (N° 20146)
Totemic figure in African Kurumba art
This crest mask, emblematic of most Kurumba clans in northern Burkina, was intended to honor the memory of ancestors during mourning.
It could also serve as an altar in the house housing the spirits of the ancestors of the lineage.
Evoking the hippotrague antelope, it displays, from a semi-spherical facial mask, a long neck on which the head of the animal develops.
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Tapered, slender lines, evoking agility, and geometric decorative motifs distinguish this mask. Smooth, satin patina, shaded with ochre.
The African art sculptures of the Bobo , Bwa , Kurumba and Mossi , living in Burkina Faso , frequently take up and combine stylized elements borrowed from humans, animals or even 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 life of the members of the ethnic group. They appear to honor the deceased during funeral rites, and to escort the souls to the kingdom of the dead. They also appear during agricultural festivals in order to ensure the progression of the seasons, as well as during initiation rites to initiate young people into the responsibilities of adult life.
The masks are the object of family pride, and thus a means of enhancing one's prosperity and influence within the group. It is in a spirit of competition that each one will seek to emphasize the danced performances of its mask, and to put forward the ornamental reasons of its surface.
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