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July 31, 2016 : SALE CLOSED
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|Mossi Tribe, Burkina Faso, 1920 1940|
This very special type of mask comes from the far-eastern Mossi territory, also known as Boulsa in Burkina Faso. It was likely danced within a series of three important masks that are always danced together in an important masquerade theater: wan-zega, wan-sablaga, and yali. Wan-zega represents the red (or male) character, wan-sablaga represents the black (or female) character, and yali incarnates the protective dwarf bush spirit. This mask trio appears at harvest ceremonies, funerals, and annual celebrations which honor the ancestors. Although this mask, due to its coloration and the presence of a superstructure of branches, does not strictly fit into one of the three categories, it is clearly a variation on the harvest ceremonial character of this mask procession. It is a spectacular and monumental in form.
|Lot ID: 5|
|Low Estimate: $2,500|
|High Estimate: $5,500|
|Next Bid: $1,600|
|Sale ID: 6|
|Sale Date: July 28, 2016|
|Sale Location: Virtual Auction|
|Sale Sponsor: African Artworks from Berz Gallery of African Art|
|Sale Terms: View here|
|Live Bidding Link: SALE CLOSED|
|Location of Origin: Africa|
|Medium/Materials: wood (one piece), kaolin and pigment stain, paint, thatch, bundled sticks/branches|
|Dimensions: 56'' (142.24 cm) heigh x 10.5'' (26.67 cm) width|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Country - Burkina Faso|
|Secondary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art : Object Type - Mask|
|Professor Christopher Roy of the University of Iowa, who has spent considerable time amongst the Mossi Boulsa, writes, "The performer holds a split reed between his teeth and alternately sucks and blows air through it to produce a high or low toned whistling sound. The mask speaks to its assistants, but in a language that only the initiated can understand. Within the Boulsa style area, the three types of masks that are used differ in both the form of the wooden mask and the construction of the fiber costumes. All three mask types are referred to collectively as gur-wando" (Ref: Roy, "Land of the Flying Masks"; Roy, University of Iowa). This important mask is among the most rare types of sculpture from Burkina Faso. The Mossi Tribe is the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso, and has an extraordinary, rich history. Like their countrymen the Bwa, members of the Mossi Tribe are also renowned for their highly stylized zoomorphic masks that make the untamed spirits of the bush come alive and bring protection to their villages. The animal spirits often invoked include crocodiles, buffalo, hyenas, monkeys, rams, and gazelles, and often, elements of many different animals will be incorporated in one mask. These zoomorphic masks do not always represent a particular animal species, but rather reflect aspects of the species as seen through the spirits embodied by the mask. The variety of forms on Mossi masks gives the performers enormous latitude for creativity in inventing new and unusual dances that attract the attention of the audience and make the performer famous. (Ref: Roy, "Land of the Flying Masks").|
Tribes throughout Burkina Faso carve and dance animal masks, even today, to call upon spirits of the bush to address and solve problems and provide a range of services to members of the community.
This rare mask was acquired at auction from Arte Primitivo, NY, May 2015 Lot 405 , from the important private collection of Collection Allan Stone, NY (1932-2006). From an examination of the mask, including the interior, the surface, and material composition, it is most likely that this mask dates to the early 20th century and that the superstructure was replaced or added over time. The age and evidence of use on this piece is hard to dispute. The surface shows naturally occurring age; the rear of the mask shows stains and wear as well. The mask has a thin layer of encrustation that forms the top layer of the pigment application; this occurs on kaolin pigment after years of exposure to natural elements. (Expertise: C. Roy, Land of the Flying Masks, Monica Visona, "A History of Art in Africa", Tom Phillips, “Africa: The Art of a Continent,” 1999 Photo reference: The 1977 photograph included depicts six wan-zega masks surrounding a single wan-sablaga mask. It is entitled "Mossi masks at a year-end ancestral celebration in the village of Zeguedeguin, far eastern Mossi area" and is © Christopher Roy.
|Provenance: Ex. Arte Primitivo, NY, May 2015 Lot 405, Ex. Collection Allan Stone, NY (1932-2006)|
|Price:||Price on Request|
|Offered By:||CLOSED: African Artworks : 146 Lots : July 28-30|
|Contact:||The Curator's Eye|
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