back bounded-next cafe calendar-large calendar cart close coat-check collapse donate download elevators expand explore filter grid-view hamburger heart hours join link list-view location mail more next nursing-room phone print programs ramp restrooms right-arrow search share shop thumbs-down thumbs-up tickets up toilet heart-filled zoom Skip to Content

Mask Ensemble

African Art

Search and Share Tools

Mask Ensemble

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Mossi Artist
Burkina Faso

Date

Twentieth century

Medium

Wood, fiber, white pigment, and medicine bag

Accession #

1992.224

Dimensions

82 x 24 x 22 inches

Location

Currently Not on View

Description

Masquerade serves as a means of connecting Mossi communities to the world of their ancestors and to the mythic origins of each lineage. Performances take place on various occasions including funerals and initiations. Although the masks represent both male and female characters, only men perform the masks. This mask type belongs to a category known as gur-wando, from the eastern Mossi region, and represents a male character named wan-zago. This character is identified by the white pigment on the mask and its hemp costume. The masked personage typically carries a knife or whip and a bag of strong, traditional medicine is suspended from his headdress. Mossi masks such as this one embody divine forces that are deeply revered.

Credit

The Lenore and Burton Gold Collection of Twentieth-Century Art