Collections: Arts of Africa: Mask (Karan-wemba)

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    2005.13_SL1.jpg CUR.2005.13_print_front_bw.jpg CUR.2005.13_print_back_bw.jpg CUR.2005.13_print_side_bw.jpg CUR.2005.13_print_threequarter_bw.jpg

    Mask (Karan-wemba)

    The female figure atop this mask represents a married woman who has just given birth to her first child—a moment when a woman is considered to be the most beautiful by the Mossi. Such masks are danced at burials and celebrations to honor the spirits of deceased female clan elders.

    • Culture: Mossi
    • Medium: Wood
    • Place Made: Nord Region, Burkina Faso
    • Dates: 19th century
    • Dimensions: 31 x 8 1/2 x 6 3/4 in. (78.7 x 21.6 x 17.1 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Arts of Africa
    • Museum Location: This item is on view in South Gallery, 1st Floor
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 2005.13
    • Credit Line: Gift of Beatrice Riese
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Mossi. Mask (Karan-wemba), 19th century. Wood, 31 x 8 1/2 x 6 3/4 in. (78.7 x 21.6 x 17.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Beatrice Riese, 2005.13. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: overall, 2005.13_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • Catalogue Description: Oval, minimally decorated face mask on top of which is 21" tall standing female figure. Figure is nude, frontally posed, with arms at sides and knees slightly bent. Figure's oval face clearly delineated, with protruding eyes, straight nose, and slightly open mouth revealing two (metal?) teeth. Ears squarish with one hole in each lobe. Coiffure consists of a single ridge with shallow striations from brow, over top of head, continuing down to shoulder level. Scarification marks on cheeks and back of head. Long columnar neck with three shallow striations encircling middle. Broad shoulders and large breasts. Extensive linear scarification marks consisting of triangular and checkerboard patterns incised on back, upper arms, and buttocks. More lightly incised scarification marks above breasts and on belly. Naval protrudes slightly. Buttocks sharply delineated, moving into upper legs at a sharp angle. Thick, smooth curved legs. Hands and feet minimally carved with incised lines definiing fingers and toes. Mask below figure is oval in shape with square eye holes. Eye area set back approximately 1" from surface. Vertical ridge moves down center of eye area. Eye area rimmed with oval-shaped ridge. Twenty-four small holes evenly spaced around edge of mask. Interior unornamented. Condition good.
    • Record Completeness: Best (83%)
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