|References||Bwa Sun Masks|
Other Sun Masks
Studying the piece was incredibly informative, as I had to sketch out the patterns and the dimensions of the mask. I took great pleasure in examining the nuances and details of the engravings, as well as the symbols.
A Short History of African Art. Gillon, Werner. Facts on File Publications. New York, N.Y, 1984.
Art of the Upper Volta Rivers. Roy, Christopher. Offset-Arcuil, Arcuil. 1987
Wild Spirits. Anderson, Martha G. and Kraemer Mullin, Christine. Center for African Art. New York, N.Y. 1989.
Animals in African Art. Roberts, Allen F. Museum for African Art. New York, N.Y. 1995.
From the beginning, I believed that this piece was a reflection of the animal kingdom, a representation of a certain animal, or power within the wilderness that the artisan was symbolically representing. Animals have great importance, both as a source of food as well as symbols of respect and power. The large banded eyes and fierce mouth reflect this. The emotion the piece evokes is that of importance and ferocity. The parallels between the piece and animal symbolism reflect, to me, man's interest and connection to nature.
With further research, I discovered the ties of my mask to the Bwa of Mali and Burkina Faso. Numbering three hundred thousand, the Bwa speak Bwamu, a voltaic language with numerous local dialects. Living in several geographcial regions, including the valley of the Bani in the north; the high rocky plateau between Bandiagara and Banfora; the wet and fertile valley of the Black Volta; and the region of low hills and dry, but fertile, soils of the far south, the Bwa are primarily agriculturalists. They consider this occupation noble, as the men primarily work in the fields, while the women perform traditional tasks such as gathering fruit and wild foods.
 Roy, Christopher. Art of the Upper Volta Rivers, p. 257.