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Nuna Mask Crocodile with Baby Burkina Faso African Art 57 Inch

Regular Price: $590.00

Special Price: $450.00

Product #: 115322
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Title Nuna Mask Crocodile with Baby Burkina Faso African Art 57 Inch
Type of Object Carving, Figure, Statue, Sculpture
Country of Origin Burkina Faso
People Nuna
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 57 Inches
Width: 8 Inches
Depth: 7.75 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.
Damage/Repair Cracks, chips and wear, repaired foot


Additional Information:  A decorated crocodile with a fearsome gaze; this mask is worn on the top of the head with the wearer's eyes facing out the mouth.  The mask is in the familiar form of the Nuna crocodile.  The surface of the face mask is highlighted by the use of red, white, and black geometrical forms. This is a fine example of the carving of the Nuna which was stylistically shared with the neighboring Bobo and Bwa peoples. Crocodile masks are also found among the Gurunsi and the Bwa.


Large and finely carved masks such as this rarely come on the market and would be of good addition to any collection.


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. They are primarily farmers with an uncomplicated social structure which in the past relied upon male elders to exercise social control. Their religion is based upon magical objects and figures that are kept in village and family shrines. The spirit that inhabits the shrine also is found in masks representing bush spirits.


Animal shaped masks have been identified as the primary sculpted art form of these people. This large crocodile mask attributed to the Nuna was worn on the face with the wearer looking out of the round eyes of the mask.The hornbill symbolizes knowledge and wisdom. The crocodile is related to the water spirit, guarantor of fertility and prosperity.


For similar piece see 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