|Q: I bought this African mask for 65 Euros. It’s carved in wood, 76cm x 18cm x 15cm height. I was told it was Punu, but i don’t think so. I looked at your precious book and browsed in Internet, and I think it comes from Burkina Faso area. Probably could be Mossi, or Bobo, or Bozo. Can I have your opinion? Many thanks for your answer, and even for sharing your collection by books and website. Stefano, 1036
A: This is a great fish mask meant to be worn on top of the dancer’s head. I immediately went to Ways of the Rivers by Anderson and Peek. It’s about the Southern Nigerian tribes (Urhobo, Ijo, Epie, Isoko, Ogoni, Igbo, Ibibio, etc) that live near the many rivers that make up the Niger Delta. Couldn’t find anything that looked similar. The Bozo of Mali are mostly fishermen, but that research didn’t work either. I give up! Let’s hope some of our readers will comment.
I just found thus photo of an unusual Baule fish mask.
There are about 4,000,000 Baule in Ivory Coast and plenty of rivers. Yes, the Bozo are primarily fishermen, but there are only 130,000 of them. So far I’m voting Baule.
It’s a fantasy piece made in Mali, with elements of Bwa and Bobo styles.