Mask (wan-balinga)

Mask (wan-balinga)

early 1900s

Wood and paint

Overall: 34 x 14 x 14 cm (13 3/8 x 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.)

Weight: 520 g (1.15 lbs.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2014.1

Did you know?

This mask was worn and danced upon the death of an elder, escorting the corpse to the grave.


Only the farmers among the Mossi people employ masks. This mask’s proper name, wan-balinga, evokes a mythical figure who was the mother of the first Mossi ruler. Such masks are most typically worn and danced with on the occasion of the funeral of a male or female elder as escorts of the corpse to the grave. They also appear during annual memorial services that occur months after the actual burial, when all the deceased clan members are commemorated and honored.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 

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