About this artwork
This immense butterfly mask required strength and skill to control. Short dowels on the mask’s back were used to strap it to the head of a male performer, who also wore a costume of long raffia fibers. The mask’s patterns are open to various interpretations depending on the viewer’s depth of knowledge. For instance, the concentric circles suggest rippling pools of water around which butterflies appear in spring. Bwa masks are performed at community events, especially in the dry season, including men’s and women’s initiations, annual renewal ceremonies, burials, memorial services, ceremonies for newly made masks, and market days.
- Plank Mask
- Burkina Faso
- Wood and pigment
- 52.1 × 238.8 × 26.7 cm (20 1/2 × 94 × 10 1/2 in.)
- Charles H. and Mary F. Worcester Collection Fund