Mossi Wan Nyaka Mask

Mossi Wan Nyaka Mask with stunningly sweeping lines to the horns.

Mossi Antelope Mask

Tribe: Mossi

Origin: Burkina Faso

Approx Age: 1960’s

Materials: Wood, black, white & red pigment.

Dimensions cm: 61 (L) x 15 (W) x 26 (T)

Ref. Number: 1620


Mossi Wan Nyaka mask from the Mossi of Burkina Fasso. With stunningly carved sweeping horns, tubular-shaped eyes, elongated nose, incised carved pattern over the entire mask. Black, white and red colour pigment has been used to enforce and enhance the decorative overall pattern typical to the Mossi people. Holes around the base of the mask that would have had a raffia costume attached at some time in its life. Signs of being used are present and the overall condition of this mask is good. There is still an old collectors number on the inside of the mask.

Provenance: Ex Private UK Collection.


Additional images


The Mossi people come from Burkina Faso. Like many tribes within Africa, they have their own traditions and ceremonies to which require the wearing of masks. This particular mask being know and referred to as a Wan Nyaka. Wan Nyaka meaning ‘ little antelope’ the lovely sweeping horns being of antelope in nature and style. Masks hold a very important part in the lives of the Mossi people from the farmers to the spiritual members of Mossi society. Masks also have a very important place within a funeral/burial ceremony. Being a representation of the ancestors, masks are worn to observe that such a ceremony is carried out properly and to honour the deceased, and as verification that the deceased has merit enough to enter the spirit world. Without this taking place, the spirits are thought to remain near the home causing unrest and trouble for the remaining family members. 

Masks are a very important part and indeed play a very important role within Mossi life. They are very sacred due to the believed links to their spiritual world of the ancestors and that of nature.

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