The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 2, 2024

Mask (wan-balinga)

Mask (wan-balinga)

early 1900s

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.
  • before 1967
    Charles Ratton, Paris, France
    Evelyn Annenberg Hall & William Jaffe, New York, NY
    Galerie Jacques Germain, Montreal, Canada
    (Galerie Jacques Germain, Montreal, Canada, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • {{cite web|title=Mask (wan-balinga)|url=false|author=|year=early 1900s|access-date=02 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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