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African Art / Works from the Swiss collection of Walter Schwab

Wednesday 13 October 2021, 05:00 PM • Milan


MOSSI Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta)


€ 3.000 - 5.000

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24cm tall, 42cm tall
Dance mask
Wood sculpted with a geometric pattern carved and painted in polychrome with white, red and black colours of natural origin. Animal-shaped helmet mask, with a bird’s beak and a rooster’s crest.
The geographical region in which these masks are found is the section of the villages where the Mossi live, which goes from south and west of the White Volta River, also extending north into the Yatenga kingdom, with the villages of Kebesa, Moundia, and Tarmounouma, south-west of Gourcy. These masks, worn as a head covering for dances during funeral ceremonies, belong to a young person in Wango society. They are sculpted following the style that Christopher Roy has called the “style of Ouagadougou”.They are small wooden masks which have the shape of an animal, coloured with red, black and white geometric patterns, which depict stylised animals typically living in the savannas of Mossi villages. Animals depicted include birds, chickens, antelopes etc., with the masks also portraying certain aspects from the animals.Each mask belongs to an individual and practically all types of masks can be found in a village made up of different clans. They were always worn with heavy raphia garments that hid the identity of the dancer. Mossi masks of this sort are closely related from a stylistic point of view with the red, black and white animal-shaped masks used by the Nouma, Lela and Ko groups, who the Mossi call Gurunsi.


Le Village Swisse” Gallery of René Garcia (Paris);
Former collection of Orio Ciferri (Pavia) Acquired by René Garcia in January 1990, with expertise
Private collection (1999);


SKOUGSTAD NORMAN “Traditional Sculpture from Upper Volta “ New York The African American Institute 1978 (47);
ROY CHRISTOFER D. “Forme & signification des Masques Mossi” article published in journals:
Arts d’Afrique Noire n° 48, winter 1983, pag. 9 - 23 (first part)
Arts d’Afrique Noire n° 49, spring 1984 pag. 11 - 21 (second part);
PLASS MARGARET "African Tribal Sculpture" The University Museum of Philadelphia 1956, n° 3C (388);

Condition report

To request a Condition Report, please contact The department will provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Please note that what Finarte declares with respect to the state of conservation of the objects corresponds only to a qualified opinion and that we are not professional conservators or restorers. We urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. We always suggest prospective buyers to inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition during the exhibition days as indicated in the catalog.