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Lot 0156B
West Africa, Burkina Faso, Nunuma peoples, ca. early to mid 20th century CE. A fascinating wooden mask with graphic facial features including an open mouth, large circular eyes, and jutting triangular ears. The creature has a mouth full of jagged teeth. Black and white pigment on the face contributes to its alarming appearance. A large-breasted female figure stands atop the head, her knees slightly bent and her arms out in front of her. She wears a conical hat and a large pendant, but otherwise is nude and unadorned. Size: 9.25" W x 26.75" H (23.5 cm x 67.9 cm); 39" H (99.1 cm) on included custom stand.

Masks carved of wood by the Nunuma and their neighbors the Lela, Winiama, and Nuna are meant to represent bush spirits, spirits that take animal forms. Many of these represent the antelope, buffalo, hyena, and serpent - but many others, like this one, have no recognizable animal form.

Provenance: private New York, New York, USA collection; ex-Wolfgang Klein collection, Vienna, Austria

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Surface is weathered, with some small losses due to now-inactive insect damage, notably around the lower edge of the mask on one side and on the top of the head.

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Early 20th C. Burkina Faso Nunuma Wood Mask

Estimate $3,000 - $4,500May 23, 2019
Louisville, CO, USA