Africa

The spectacular hawk/butterfly mask

Q:  Hello, first thanks for your time. I’m looking for any information you can give me on this mask. It is 6 ft long, 15 inchs tall, with wings 1 inch thick. Location for face is 3 inchs deep.  Bruce, 881

A:  This is called sometimes a hawk mask and others say is represents a butterfly. Several different tribes use them in Burkina Fasso– such as the Mossi, Bobo, Gurunsi and Bwa.  These wide headdresses transformed the dancer into a supernatural being. They were used by the Do society at dances to promote fertility of the fields and at funerals of Do members. The geometric designs all have meanings. These wide masks look good high on the wall above a door or window. This one was intended for sale to tourists or for export. Unfortunately the darkness that was added to make it look old was overdone. An authentic mask would look almost pure white and dark black. C+

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