Nwantantay Mask - Bwa People - Burkina Faso
The most impressive of the Bwa masks is the Nwantantay, usually consisting of a rounded face with a protruding mouth through which the performer can see. A handle often extends below the face. The face is connected to the plank and has a prominent hooked beak. The plank is a large vertical rectangle & is surmounted by a large crescent with the opening turned up. The mask is marked with geometric patterns in white, black, and sometimes red. the patterns represent the scars worn by the Bwa men & women and comprise a system of signs & symbols used in initiations. These masks are not representational, they are not intended to look like any natural being, rather they embody supernatural forces that act on behalf of the Bwa clans that own the masks. The eyes represent the eyes of an owl (a bird is symbolic of magical power). The masks appear at initiations, celebrations, funerals, and annual renewal ceremonies. The mask also invokes the spirit of nature that controls the water.
78"H x 22"W