Mask (wan-balinga)

early 1900s
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.)
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

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.
Mask (wan-balinga)

Mask (wan-balinga)

early 1900s

Africa, West Africa, Burkina Faso, Mossi-style blacksmith-carver

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.