For the Mossi, masks were used primarily during funerals. This graceful animal head cap (zazaido) from the Mossi people shows the distinct features of a small antelope (duiker). The blackened, pronounced crest between the horns possibly alludes to the coiffure of a Fulani woman or to a rooster's feathered head. The mask headpiece is painted with organic pigments in the classic black, red, and white color triad seen on much West and Central African sculpture. The natural materials used for the geometric decoration have been derived from a red iron ore or hematite, white clay or chalk, and black charcoal or plant dye. The wood itself is hard and dense. Surface patina has been softened and slightly faded with age and handling; numerous indications of use are present along the holes at bottom. From Burkina Faso, West Africa, early 20th century. An early example.
Dimensions are 19.50"L x 5.50"W. Condition is very fine with old, stable 'checks' in the wood along the sides of the head and in back on the crest. Provenance: ex-Susan Vogel.