African Collection

Bwa Or Nuna Artist

Plank Mask


Bwa or Nuna artist
Burkina Faso
Plank Mask
Wood, polychrome

This Plank Mask was made by an artist of the Bwa or Nuna people, in the region that is now known as Burkina Faso. The artist painted the surface with geometric patterning with the stylized imagery of a bat’s face at the center. While this mask represents a bat, butterflies and other winged creatures were also commonly represented. The Plank Mask would have been used in active performances to represent natural or ancestral spirits for community events, such as agricultural festivities to encourage crop success. One can imagine, the large size of this mask, reaching more than six feet across, would have required significant strength and ability from the performer.