Mask (Nwamba)

16758723-1999_003_058_Gpa_ARC.tif

Title

Mask (Nwamba)

Keywords

Ceremonial costume, mask, sculpture

Date

mid 20th Century

Context

West Africa, Burkina Faso
Southern Bwa

Medium/Dimensions

Wood, pigment
78 x 14 in. (198.1 x 35.6 cm)

Object Number

1999.003.058

Description

Farming families of the southern Bwa people commission, make, and perform two types of masks. One type, of which this tall nwamba mask is an example, is made of wood. Masks of this category appear in a wide range of public performances, often alongside another Bwa mask type called bieni, which is made of more ephemeral materials such as vines, leaves, and feathers. Though both types of mask are used in the veneration of the nature spirit Do, only wooden masks are acquired for museum collections. This is because the bieni leaf masks are made on the day of the performance, constructed on the body of the performer and then ritually burned after the performance. The wooden nwamba masks are saved for future use and care is taken to preserve them. Every year, these masks are soaked in an herbal solution by their owners to prevent insect damage and repainted with geometric patterns that encode different meanings depending on the viewer and occasion.
Bieni represents the oldest Bwa masking practice. However, since they cannot be collected, it is the newer wooden mask that represents Bwa masking styles within museum collections.

Credit Line

Ex coll. William S. Arnett

Exhibits/Publications

MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, 2008 - December 1, 2014
MCCM Permanent Collection Gallery, August 6, 2016 - Present

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White 2010.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

Yes

Citation

“Mask (Nwamba),” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed June 24, 2018, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7151.

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