Description
MOSSI-SUMKOMSE MASK WAN-SILGA (HAWK), BURKINA FASO
H. 10.23 in

Provenance:
- Collection William Wright, New York
- Collection Thomas G. B. Wheelock, New York
- Collection Béatrice et Patrick Caput, Paris

Publication:
- Holly Solomon et Alexandra Anderson, Living with Art, 1988, n°119
- Christopher Roy et Thomas Wheelock, Land of Flying Masks: Art and Culture in Burkina Faso, The Thomas G. B. Wheelock Collection, 2007, n°106
- Patrick Caput et Valentine Plisnier, Arts d’Afrique. Portraits d’une collection, 2016, p.156-157
This extremely rare hardwood object stands out in the corpus of Mossi masks by its remarkable age, its surprising geometrical rigour, its formal abstraction and its elegant polychrome effect. Called a wan-silga mask or «hawk’s mask», it is in the style of the Mossi Sumkomse masks developed in the ancient kingdom of Ouagadougou, to the southwest of the Mossi country. Oval in shape, pierced with four circular orifices representing the eyes and the ability to perceive the hereafter, this mask was not meant to be worn on a face. It was placed at the top of the head, crowning a heavy, dark fibre costume ingeniously hiding the dancer’s identity. The beauty of the polychrome effect – alternating between blue, red and white triangles – fits in perfectly with the geometric expression of the lines. The nose is attached to the top of the forehead.

lot 9

MOSSI-SUMKOMSE MASK WAN-SILGA (HAWK), BURKINA FASO
H. 10.23 in

Provenance:
- Collection William Wright, New York
- Collection Thomas G. B. Wheelock, New York
- Collection Béatrice et Patrick Caput, Paris

Publication:
- Holly Solomon et Alexandra Anderson, Living with Art, 1988, n°119
- Christopher Roy et Thomas Wheelock, Land of Flying Masks: Art and Culture in Burkina Faso, The Thomas G. B. Wheelock Collection, 2007, n°106
- Patrick Caput et Valentine Plisnier, Arts d’Afrique. Portraits d’une collection, 2016, p.156-157
This extremely rare hardwood object stands out in the corpus of Mossi masks by its remarkable age, its surprising geometrical rigour, its formal abstraction and its elegant polychrome effect. Called a wan-silga mask or «hawk’s mask», it is in the style of the Mossi Sumkomse masks developed in the ancient kingdom of Ouagadougou, to the southwest of the Mossi country. Oval in shape, pierced with four circular orifices representing the eyes and the ability to perceive the hereafter, this mask was not meant to be worn on a face. It was placed at the top of the head, crowning a heavy, dark fibre costume ingeniously hiding the dancer’s identity. The beauty of the polychrome effect – alternating between blue, red and white triangles – fits in perfectly with the geometric expression of the lines. The nose is attached to the top of the forehead.