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Mossi Mask with Head Crest African Art

Regular Price: $265.00

Special Price: $189.00

Product #: 110652
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Title Mossi Mask with Head Crest African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Burkina Faso
People Mossi or Moshi
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age Second half 20th century
Dimensions Height: 19 Inches
Width: 6 Inches
Depth: 6 Inches
Overall Condition Fair. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage. General wear
Damage/Repair Cracks and chips and general wear


Additional Information:  The Mossi are today the largest single group living in Burkina Faso. They originated from horsemen who made their way north from present day Ghana during the 1500’s. The Mossi are renowned for their masquerades and the use of large, superbly sculpted and brightly painted masks and colorful costumes. Mossi elders are highly honored with elaborate funerals and the appearance of masked dancers with masks representing ancestors and various spirits and forces of Nature in dramatic and often vigorous dances.


In the southwest region of Burkina Faso, numerous smaller groups of farming peoples have often been identified collectively as the Gurunsi. Included within this larger collective are the Nuna, Nunuma and Lela among others sharing certain common elements of culture and language. This is especially seen in their masks that are often difficult to tell apart as they share style and symbolism.


Among the Mossi, most of the masks with superstructures are known as Karanga masks among the Mossi. Our mask may represent a bird. The most popular is the "guinea fowl" recognized here by its beak. These animal masks are all representations of the totem animals for specific clans. In a clan village, the killing of an animal identified with the clan is the same as killing a person. Burkina Faso is a land of masks, with figures scarce across all groups.


See a similar piece in Warren M. Robbins & Nancy Ingram Nooter. African Art In American Collections. A schiffer Book.  2004, fig. 111; see also Christopher D. Roy & Thomas G.B. Wheelock,2007, fig. 116


Recommended Reading:
Christopher Roy' The Art of the Upper Volta Rivers, 1987


Christopher Roy, 2002, The Art of Burkina Faso, University of Iowa.


Christopher D. Roy & Thomas G.B. Wheelock,2007, LAND OF THE FLYING MASKS ART AND CULTURE IN BURKINA FASO. THE THOMAS G.B. WHEELOCK COLLECTION, Prestel, fig. 55