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A superb Nuna or Bwa plank mask

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All Items: Archives: Regional Art: Pre 1900: item # 1113774

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michael cichon tribal arts
P.O. Box 5919
Bradenton, FL 34281
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A superb Nuna or Bwa plank mask
This type of 'Do' mask embodies concepts of supernatural forces which are not visible in this world. The Bwa name for such a vertical mask is "bayiri", and a female gender is assigned to the mask type. These abstracted forms are not intended to look like anything in particular, with surface decoration, as described by Coquet and Regis in Emily Hanna-Vergara's 1996 dissertation, "deliberately conceived as an esoteric text whose vivid graphic language is derived from designs inscribed on the human body during initiation rites." The age of this plank mask is great, and its efficacy and long use can be attested by the wear and use patterns on the surface. Painted in the characteristic color triumvirate of black, white, and red - colors symbolic of the spirit world, the plank mask is visually subdivided into several distinctive forms that are unified by the underlying dark black tone. Black is a color of wisdom accumulated by men and women while participating in the spiritual activities of the community. From Burkina Faso, West Africa, 19th century. Mask measures 40.5"H x 8.75"W x 6"D (101cm x 21.8cm x 15cm) and is in fine, aged condition, with softened, worn, ancient patina; organic pigments rubbed and flaked away, overall. The beak-like appendage has been cleanly broken away from the plank form, and glued back in place. Provenance: S. Bart estate, NYC and FL, since the 1950's.


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