< Back to collection

Karanga Mask

Most Mossi masks symbolically depict totemic animals associated with particular clans. Each family, or clan, has an animal with which it has mythological connections and which it believes protects it from harm. In return for this protection, the clan members are forbidden to eat the meat of the totem animal.

Catalogue Description:
Oval face mask at base of flat vertical plank extension. Face bisected by raised vertical ridge with triangular cut out eyes on either side and linear designs incised on cheeks. Two long slender antelope-like horns extend from forehead, twisted and curved at tips. Surface of plank at back of head divided into painted rectangular quadrants with alternating motifs: triangular, herringbone and checkerboard designs. Finial form at top triangular. Two circular holes through sides at base of face. Colors: white, brown, and black. Condition: Some water damage around perimeter of face. Piece missing from base with crack extending around side. Repairs to several cracks toward top of plank - deepest one extends from top of plank downward. Paint missing in patches from surface.

Brooklyn Museum Logo