A Gurunsi headdress in shape of fish

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A Gurunsi headdress in shape of fish, Burkina Faso, a round wide open mouth showing lower teeth, perforated bulging eyes, the trunk carved in low relief with triangles, the tail fin decorated the diagonal lines, the mask pierced through for attachment around the rim; blackened and with painted pigments, signs of age and ritual use, several cracks.

“Many peoples in Burkina Faso use fish masks, including the Bwa und Gurunsi. The story is told of an elder who had wandered far from his family for new land to farm where his family could settle. He became lost and disoriented and was close to starving. He came across a low pond that had filled with water during the rainy season and tried to catch a large fish in the pond. The fish was able to elude him easily, until at the last moment it sacrificed itself to the elder. He took it up on the back, built a fire, grilled the fish, and ate it, restoring his strength so that he was able to return home and bring his family to the spot where they settled an prospered.”

Lit.: Christopher D. Roy/Thomas G.B. Wheelock: Land of the Flying Masks. Art and Culture in Burkina Faso. The Thomas G. B. Wheelock Collection, Prestel 2007, p. 415; Tiziana & Gianni Baldizzone: Die Regenmacher. Maskenzauber und Stammesriten, Paris 2020; Till Förster: Skulptur in Westafrika. Masken und Figuren aus Burkina Faso. Sammlung “Burkina Faso” aus dem Morat-Institut für Kunst und Kunstwissenschaft, Freiburg im Breisgau, Bremen 1995.

600 – 700,- Euro

Height: 60 cm
Weight: 1,8 kg


A female Lobi sculpture, Burkina Faso,

Height: 36 cm
Weight: 250 g

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Additional information

Weight 1.05 kg