230318 - African Bobo shield - Burkina Faso.


Burkina Faso: African shield from the BOBO.
Diameter: 39 cm.

In the language of African art they are often called the Bobo-Fing, but they simply are known as Bobo. The tribe numbers approximately 130,000 and they live in eastern Burkina Faso, and also in Mali. The bobo are predominately farmers whose major food crops are sorghum, millet, yams, and maize. They grow cotton and peanuts as cash crops. Their lives are regulated by a council of elders. The notion of having a chief is profoundly foreign to them and they consider it to be dangerous — as waging a severe attack on the order of things as established by the god. The Bobo god, creator of earth and animals, is Wuro, who formed the world from a ball of mud. The first man created was a blacksmith. Dwo, a son of the Wuro was responsible for helping humankind. The blacksmiths were the priests of Dwo worship. Spirits of the bush and ancestors received sacrifices. Dwo was the intermediary between humankind and the creator; masks are the mainstay of tradition and their meaning was revealed to young boys during their initiation period. Living in a region of dry savannas where harvests depend on rainfall, the Bobo instituted a series of purification rituals in order to reconcile themselves with nature.