African art > Mask > Mossi Mask

Mossi crest mask (N° 14204)

African art at the Mossi.
It is in the northern centre of the Mossi country that this type of convex African masks, with a prominent central ridge, are carved. Despite openings for the eyes, these masks were worn at the top of the head, accompanied by a fiber suit. This mask depicts Balinga, the beautiful woman linked to Mossi mythology. Geometric patterns imbued with kaolin are dug on the matte and grainy surface. The eyes are surrounded by seeds of abrus, some of which are missing.
Stylistic similarities are sometimes noted with the zoomorphic masks of the dogon, a neighbouring people. Mossi masks, personal or lignagers, are an embodiment of tutelary spirits offering their support. They perform at funerals, at the funerals of clan leaders, protect the crops. Genuine altars without their costume, they can receive libations such as mil beer in order to honor the ancestors. Their appearance is now frequent during entertainment shows. Upper Volta, Burkina Faso since independence, is made up of descendants of the invaders Nakomse, horsemen from Ghana, and 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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Originex-collection Duperrier
EthnyMossi
Countryburkina faso
Material(s)wood, raphia, seedsd'abrus, metal
Height34
Width17
Weight0.77 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1960
Socle inclusOptional

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