Bwa Butterfly Mask

  • Product Code: Bwa2-34
  • Dimensions: 0" x 0" x 0"
  • Availability: In Stock
  • USD $


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The 300,000 Bwa people are scattered across Mali and Burkina Faso. All Bwa masks represent nature spirits, the most common of which are carved polychrome animal masks in horizontal shapes which symbolize butterflies or hawks. The wooden masks of the Bwa were adopted from the neighboring Gurunsi peoples and from the original Bobo people. The spirits of nature which the masks represent are believed to influence human life, and the maskers appear on market days, during initiations, funerals, harvest rites, and on other festive occasions. Butterflies have special significance, since their swarms signal the return of the rains. Thus, butterfly masks are used in celebrating the begining of farming season. It is thought that the small triangles represent the hoofprints of the koba antelope. The zigzag motif framing the face in this mask signifies the "ancestral path" which every Bwa must follow in order to master life. This mask is carved and painted both front and back. -Hahner-Herzog/Kecskesi/Vajda -Bacquart -Robbins/Nooter

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