Bwa Nunuma mask, Burkina Faso

The Bwa and Nuna live in the dry savannah land of central Burkina Faso. Like other peoples in this area, the Bwa and Nuna seek the help of powerful spirits who live in the wild forests, bush country, and rivers surrounding their villages.

The older Bwa masks were made with leaves, feathers and vegetable fibers. They were used in the rituals of the Do initiation society. Later, the Bwa began to carve wooden masks for their rituals, being based on the masks of their neighbors the Gurunsi/Nunuma and their cousins the Bobo.

All Bwa masks represent the spirits of the nature who have some influence on the human being. Wishing to control these forces and enlist their help against the powers of destruction, the Bwa create masks that make the spirits visible and are thus open to communication.

What we have here is a Nunuma, one of the smaller and less complex masks of the Bwa people. Used a lot and can easily be found by collectors, they are instantly recognizable as Bwa. 1731, A

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