Bobo Butterfly Mask

Bobo (Bwa)

Burkina Faso

The Bwa masks represent animals: antelopes, insects, monkeys, fish, birds and bush spirits that would take on supernatural forms. Red, white and black are the only colors allowed to adorn these masks. They are differentiated only by the shape and the horns, while the muzzle and protruding eyes remain the same structure. These masks are thought to be inhabited by supernatural forces, which act to assist the clan that possesses them. The Butterfly mask is multicolored, can be decorated with concentric circles and or blackened geometrical markings and regularly feature a checkerboard backing. Bwa butterfly masks may be up to six or seven feet.

They are worn in front of the face, attached with a thick rope which the dancer holds in his mouth, he looks through the open hole of the mouth. The mask is also attached to a fiber costume that covers the head and body of the performer. The choreography of the performance is derived from the movements and behavior of the butterfly. This mask would be worn during agricultural festivals where the dancers would mimic the motion of a butterfly. Just before a rainfall, it is said that swarms of butterflies appear. The dance with this mask is a prayer to the gods to make rain to fall on the newly planted field. This is a passport mask carving of the butterfly mask.


Height : 4.5″ (11.4cm) , Width : 17″ (43.2cm)