African art > African mask > Mossi Mask
Mossi Mask (N° 19239)
Flat and circular, imposing by its dimensions, this African mask is engraved with diamond motifs arranged in successive circular friezes. It is painted in a matte polychrome, burgundy red, white and dark brown kaolin. The mouth in which teeth are represented is hollowed out to allow the vision of the dancer. It would symbolize a totem bird from different clans Mossi.
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Desiccation cracks. Matt patina.
The sculptures of African art of the Bobo, Bwa, Kurumba and Mossi, living in Burkina Faso, frequently use and combine stylized elements borrowed from men, animals and 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 thus during various 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 souls to the kingdom of the dead. They also occur during agricultural festivals to ensure the progression of the seasons, and during initiation rites they initiate young people to the responsibilities of adult life.
The masks are the object of family pride, and thus a means of enhancing its prosperity and influence within the group. It is in a spirit of competition that everyone will seek to highlight the danced performances of his mask, and to highlight the ornamental patterns of its surface.
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