African art > African mask > Winiama Mask

Winiama Gurunsi Fish Mask (N° 18652)

The Gurunsi dedicate this mask to catfish, especially sacred to the Winiama. According to the belief, the ponds, where they stay, house the fetal spirits that will fertilize women. Pierced with triangles for the eyes, it is the mask that dances first during ceremonies closing the dry season. Mate plant patina, erosions.
The Gunrusi masks of bush spirits came out during ritual dances and were worn by village members wearing full-length outfits made of plant fibres that covered the body. The ritual was to bring fertility and prosperity to the village, provided it was properly performed. It was during a two-week initiation that the young boys were introduced to the secrecy of the masks and the meaning of their motifs. On the religious level, the Gurunsi believe in a superior being, Yi, who withdrew from the world after creating it and whose altar occupies the center of the village. Yi sent the Su spirit, embodied in all masks and honored by an altar, to represent him. Among the Gourunsi, the Lela, Winiama, Nuna and Nunuma are the main mask sculptors. They influenced the style and meaning of the masks of their neighbors Mossi and Bwa.  

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Originex-collection française
EthnyWiniama
Countryburkina faso
Material(s)wood
Height178
Width15
Weight2.43 Kg
Estimated dating2ème halfxx°
Socle inclusOptional

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