Q: I have what I think is a Bwa/Bobo crocodile mask that I was told was about 80 years old, from Burkina Faso. I was wondering if I could send you a few photos of it to see what you might be able to tell me. The closest thing I could find on the web was this: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Fine-Old-African-Tribal-Mask-Nuna-Bobo-Crocodile-Mask-Burkina-Faso-3-1-2-feet-/321188759293. Many thanks. Laurie, 692
A: That is such a handsome mask, and it is more attractive than the one on eBay. The seller wrote a good description so I’m going to share it with our readers. Animal shaped masks have been identified as the primary sculpted art form of these people. This large crocodile mask attributed to the Nuna. The crocodile is related to the water spirit, guarantor of fertility and prosperity. 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.
If you can prove that the mask was used 80 years ago it would have considerable value. A