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Medium: One of a Kind Hand Carved Wood
Height: 6.6 feet/79 inches, 201 centimeters
Length: 11 inches, 28 centimeters
Region: Burkina Faso, West Africa
Tribe: Bwa Tribe
Approximate Age: 59 years (1963)
Availability: In Stock, Available to Ship Immediately
Item Number: M005
Collection: Tribal Masks
Tear Sheet: Available Upon Request
Provenance Report: "Plank Mask"
Condition: Excellent; Not previously owned; Undamaged
Sourcing: Fair Trade
Certificate of Authenticity Provided
The most remarkable characteristic of these masks are the geometric patterns that cover them. These patterns constitute a system of signs that communicate the rules for correct moral behavior and the conduct of life for the followers of the small-scale religious associations that are focused on each spirit. These symbols are explained to young men and women alike during initiation. Each has an individual meaning, a second meaning in association with other patterns, and a meaning that varies with the level of knowledge of the initiate. The geometric patterns incised on masks are called "scars" by the Bwa, and they are identical to the scars worn by the men and women in the community (see third photo.)
Among the most common patterns is the system of parallel zig-zags, which is called "the path of the ancestors," and reminds those who see it that they must obey the rules established by the ancestors, do things as the ancestors did, in order to succeed. To follow the path of the ancestors shows respect for them, and they in turn act as mediators with the spirits of nature to provide their blessings over their descendants.
Masks from Africa
Masks were probably the first objects of African Art to capture the interest of art lovers of the New World. Like sculptures, masks served distinct functions. They were used for initiation, fertility rites, ancestor and spiritual worship, and other ceremonies.
The multitude of styles the masks produced revealed great artistic stories. African masks have been collected since artists like Pablo Picasso started his famous collection. He has stated that African masks inspired much of his work.
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