A Gurunsi scorpion mask, region Bobodioulasso, village Houndé, Burkina Faso, of hollowed form, featuring large claws, triangular-shaped open mouth, circles eyes, an uplifted tail, carved in low relief with rhomboid and checkerboard patterns, around the rim pierced through for attachment; decorated with black, white, and red pigments, traces of age and ritual use, several cracks and old authentic repairs on the claw and on the tail.
"The checkerboard motif is common on the masks of all Voltaic speaking peoples, including the Mossi and the Dogon, but is especially apparent on the great plank masks of the Bwa. (...) For the Bwa, the black rectangles on the checkerboard represent the dark goat hides on which elders sit during mask performances and sacrifices, and the white rectangles represent the new, freshly tanned goat hides that are used by the young men and women of the community. Following graduation from the "bush school" where they are instructed in the meanings of the graphic patterns that appear on masks, the young men and women of the village are given newly tanned goat hides on which they will sit at important religious occasions throughout their lives. As the years pass, and the rolled-up hides are stored in the rafters of kitchens where the smoke of fires keeps them safe from insect damage, they become darker and darker with soot. Each year when they are brought down and unrolled they are cleaned with a cloth, and quickly become the same rich deep black as the skins of the people who own them. Thus, for the Bwa, black is the color of wisdom, accumulated over the decades that men and women participate in the spiritual life of the community, and white is the color of those who have only just "commenced" the long process of learning that continues throughout their lives."
Lit.: Christopher D. Roy/Thomas G.B. Wheelock: Land of the Flying Masks. Art and Culture in Burkina Faso. The Thomas G. B. Wheelock Collection, München 2007; Christopher D. Roy: Signs and Symbols in African Art: Graphic Patterns in Burkina Faso, University of Iowa.
500 - 600,- Euro
Width: 76 cm Weight: 3,10 kg
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