Plank Mask, Do Society

Bobo peoples

Burkina Faso

Plank Mask, Do Society, n.d.

  • Not On View

Polychromed wood

Dimensions: 35 × 9 × 9 1/2 in. (88.9 × 22.9 × 24.1 cm)

Gift of Justice and Mrs. G. Mennen Williams, 1973.19

Used primarily in the rainy season (March to early May), for planting and harvesting festivals, this mask would also be used in funerals to honor the deceased, in initiations of young men and women, and in animal renewal rites to cleanse the village of malevolent spirits.The hook shape that protrudes from the plank and the two large circles above represent the beak and eyes of a bird (probably a hornbill). The handle at the base of the mask at the bottom of the plank is used to help support the mask in the vigorous dances in which it was used. The use of red, white, and black geometric patterns is typical and the checkerboard patterns represent the separation of good and evil, wise from stupid, male from female, dark from light.

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