Burkina Faso Baoule mask
Detail: Carved wood and painted
Burkina Faso art
Burkina Faso Baoule mask. The Baoulé people are talented in African art. Their sculptures are renowned for their refinement, form diversity and the labor they represent. The sculptures do not only include face masks and human figurines but include great variety of work in gold, bronze and ivory.
One of the principal obstacles to understanding the art of Burkina Faso, including that of the Bwa, has been a confusion between the styles of the Bwa, “gurunsi”, and Mossi, and a confusion of the Bwa people with their neighbors to the west the Bobo people. this confusion was the result of the use by French colonial officers of Jula interpreters at the turn of the century. these interpreters considered the two peoples to be the same and so referred to the Bobo as “Bobo-Fing” and to the Bwa as “Bobo-Oule.” In fact these two peoples are not related at all. Their languages are quite different, their social systems are quite different, and certainly their art is quite different. In terms of artistic styles the confusion stems from the fact that the Bwa, “gurunsi’” and Mossi make masks that are covered with red white and black geometric graphic patterns. This is simply the style of the Voltaic or Gur peoples, and also includes the Dogon and other peoples who speak Voltaic languages.