211008 - Tribal Used African Mossi mask - Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso: Tribal used African Mossi Mask.
Height: 32 cm.
The Mossi (or Mole, Mosse, sing. Moaaga) are a Gur ethnic group native to modern Burkina Faso, primarily the Volta River basin. The Mossi are the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso, constituting 52% of the population, or about 11.1 million people. The other 48% of Burkina Faso's population is composed of more than 60 ethnic groups, mainly the Gurunsi, Senufo, Lobi, Bobo and Fulani. The Mossi speak the Mòoré language.
The Mossi people originated in Burkina Faso, although significant numbers of Mossi live in neighboring countries, including Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, and Togo. In 1996, the estimated population of Burkina Faso was 10,623,323. Five to six million are probably Mossi; another 1.2 million Mossi live in Côte d'Ivoire.
As the Mossi people's history has been kept by oral tradition, it is impossible to assign precise dates for the period before colonization. Nevertheless, historians assign the beginning of their existence as a state to the 15th century. The Mossi were able to conquer a vast amounts of territory thanks to their mastering of the horse, created a prosperous empire, and kept peace in the region until the beginning of colonialism. The expansion of the Mossi empire was stopped in the 19th century with the initiation of intensive colonisation by the French.
The Mossi people have organised their society in an original hierarchic process in which family and state are the key elements. The Mossi people are very heterogeneous. When horsemen invaded from the south they created a political or ruling class, called Nakomse (sing. Nakoambga), and a spiritual class called Tengabisi. All chiefs come from the ruling class. The Tengabisi include Saya (smiths), Nyonyose (farmers), Yarse (weavers and merchants), and others.
The origins of the Nyonyose are diverse: In the north their ancestors were Dogon and Kurumba, in the southwest their ancestors were Lela, Nuna, Sisala and others, and in the far east they were Gurmantche. These people were united into a new ethnicity called Mossi in about 1500.
It is a mistake to describe a "Nyonyosé tribe" or the "art of the Nyonyosé" because the Nyonyose do not exist outside Mossi society. All Nyonyosé are Mossi. At the same time, it is a mistake to assume that all segments of Mossi society are culturally identical, for the differences between the Nakomsé and the Tengabisi are striking; only the Tengabisi use masks, and only the Nakomsé use figures in the context of political celebrations. The Nakomse are the political class, and the Tengabisi are the spiritual class.