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Monkey Mask

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unknown Burkinabe (Burkina Fasian)

Monkey Mask

19th century - 20th century
Carved wood and pigment

12.598 x 8.858 x 8.858 in. (32 x 22.5 x 22.5 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 99.3.52
Other Number(s): 46 (Sotheby's Lot Number)
Geography: Africa, Burkina Faso
Classification: Ceremonial and Performance Artifacts; Masks
Culture/Nationality: Winiama or Bwa, Burkinabe, West African, African
Collection: Neufeld Collection

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • African - Refers to the cultures of the continent of Africa, which is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Burkina Faso - Style and culture of the people of Burkina Faso.
  • carvings - Refers to works executed by cutting a figure or design out of a solid material such as stone or wood. It typically refers to works that are relatively small in size, are part of a larger work, or are not considered art. For large and medium-sized three-dimensional works of art, use the broader term "sculpture" or another appropriate term.
  • masks - Refers to coverings for all or part of the face, usually with openings for the eyes and sometimes the mouth. They are worn to hide or alter the identity of the wearer or for protection. Masks as cultural objects have been used throughout the world in all periods since the Stone Age. Masks are extremely varied in appearance, function, and fundamental meaning. They may be associated with ceremonies that have religious and social significance or are concerned with funerary customs, fertility rites, or curing sickness. They may be used on festive occasions or to portray characters in a dramatic performance and in re-enactments of mythological events. They may be used for warfare and as protective devices in certain sports. They are also employed as architectural ornaments.
  • monkeys - Common term referring to the New World monkeys and the Old World monkeys, two of the three groupings of simian primates, the third of which is the apes. There are over 250 known living species of monkey. Because of their similarity to monkeys, apes are often called "monkeys" in informal usage. Furthermore, some monkey species have the word "ape" in their common name, causing further confusion. Because monkeys are not a single coherent group, they do not all share any particular traits that are not also shared with the apes.
  • painting - The art and practice of applying pigments suspended in water, oil, egg yolk, molten wax, or other liquid to a surface to create an expressive or communicative image. Paint is usually, but not always, applied with a brush. For the application of paint primarily to protect a surface or add a general color, use "painting (coating)."
  • West African - Styles and cultures from the region comprising the westernmost area of the African continent, defined by the United Nations as including the modern nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
  • wood - The principal tissue of trees and other plants that provides both strength and a means of conducting nutrients. Wood is one of the most versatile materials known.

Additional Images Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image 99.3.52_BMC_f.jpg
Additional Image 99.3.52_BMC_f_2.jpg

Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:
  • A Curious Group; a cabinet of curiosities Bryn Mawr College , Apr 4, 2014 – Jun 30, 2014

  • Owner Name: Mace Neufeld and Helen Katz Neufeld, Class of 1953
    Role: Donor
    Place: Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, US
    Ownership End Date: 12/20/1996

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Important Tribal Art Sotheby's . New York, NY, 1989
    Figure Number: 46
  • Carrie Robbins and Nathanael Roesch. A Curious Group. Bryn Mawr College. Bryn Mawr, PA, April 4–June 1, 2014
    Figure Number: Wood 7
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): Record No.: 0006391.

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): Record No.: 0006402.
  • "African Heritage Document and Research Center." (Accessed June 11, 2020): Record No.: 0006404.

Related Bibliography List
The following Related Bibliography exist for this object:
  • Michel Huet, The Dances of Africa (New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1996), 60-67.
  • Christopher D. Roy, "The Spread of Mask Styles in the Black Volta Basin." African Arts 20, no. 4 (August 1987): 40-47, 89-90.
  • Christopher D. Roy, "Signs and Symbols in African Art: Graphic Patterns in Burkina Faso." (Accessed April 23, 2020): University of Iowa,

Portfolio List Click a portfolio name to view all the objects in that portfolio
This object is a member of the following portfolios:

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Monkey Mask |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=6/1/2023 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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