Photographs © Tim Hamill
BWA, Mask 1, 15.5" high, $4000, Burkina Faso, SOLD
This mask shows signs of significant use.
The Bwa (or Bobo Red) 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 vegetal fibers. They were used in the rituals of the Do initiatic 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.
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