221058 - Round African Bobo Mask - Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso: African round Bobo mask.
Diameter: 36 cm.
The Bobo people have lived in western Burkina Faso for centuries and are believed to be one of the oldest groups in the area. They are a rural, decentralized people, and agriculture is a primary part of their day to day existence. The dry season (tagaho) and harvest time (birewa danga) are two major times of the year when ceremonies involving masks occur.
A central tenant of the Bobo belief system involves maintaining and restoring the balance of the world initially set up by Wuro. These balances such as male/female, village/nature, and cold/hot are fragile and humans easily disrupt them in their everyday existence. For example, harvesting involves bringing crops from the bush into the village and thus requires special ceremonial attention to restore the village/nature balance.
Unlike most neighboring groups, the Bobo are very conservative and guard their religious traditions from outside influence. This may be because too much change could easily upset the careful balance and pollute the world, as it did during French colonial days when enforcing private property and land ownership severely altered the Bobo way of life.