Mossi masks

The Mossi are the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso. They are also located in Ghana and Ivory Coast. The four main values characteristic of the ethnic group are: ancestors, land, family and hierarchy. Mossi people use masks during burials and initiations. Masks attend to honor the deceased and to verify that the spirit of the deceased merits admission into the celestial ancestors’ world. In fact, without a proper funeral, the spirit remains near to the house and causes trouble to the descendants.

mossi mask
Mossi mask

Polychrome rooster Mossi mask

Polychrome rooster Mossi mask
Polychrome rooster Mossi mask

Polychrome buffalo Mossi mask

The buffalo mask is a classic of zoomorphic art.

mossi masks
Mossi masks
Mossi masks
Mossi masks

Mossi Karan Wemba mask

This typical artifact of the Mossi ethnic group is called “Karan Bemba”; it identifies a mask with a female character at the top. The figure is frontal, with long arm adjacent to the body, pointed breasts, protruding navel and folded legs. The mask below has small holes and geometric ornamental decorations. “Karan Bemba” reflects the political and spiritual power exercised by some women. It was used to dance during funerals in honor of women who had attained a certain status, having fully completed their role as wife and mother. The iconography also commemorates the original ancestor of the clan. The tribute to women is expressed by the elegance of the sculpture and its exquisite design.

Mossi Karan Wemba mask
Mossi Karan Wemba mask