"Ancient And Rare Monkey Mask, Burkina Faso, Gurunsi People, First Half Of The 20th Century"Origin: Burkina Faso
Presumed grandstand: First half of the 20th century
Material: Wood, natural pigments
Dimensions: 15 x 30 cm
Condition: Patina of use, old highlights of white pigments
Provenance: Former collection Bature
The piece presented here is a zoomorphic mask with monkey representation. A prominent snout revealing a mouth half open where take place sharp teeth. The mask has a short cap with two large ears and two curved eyes.
In Burkina faso, among the Bwa and Gurunsi, initiation periods are spaced three, five or seven years apart depending on the village. At the age of ten, boys undergo the physical and moral tests and the teachings of initiation where the mask is called to play a role. Candidates for initiation must face the masks and defeat them. In the glade of the sacred wood, they discover the masks and their customs. They are then told the name of the mask and its moral teaching. In Gurunsi society, the monkey is, by its language, associated with the invisible world.