Mask (karanga)

Mossi peoples
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Burkina Faso


Overall: 120 x 18.5 x 16.2 cm (at tip) (47 1/4 x 7 5/16 x 6 3/8 in.) Depth 16 cm at face

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, pigment

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art



Many Mossi masks depict sacred animals that belong to each clan. Masks are danced during funerals and agricultural cycles and the animal spirits protect the clan and ensure the productivity of the land and natural environment. The mask is comprised of a simple head, bisected by a ridge, with exaggerated horns that are decorated with triangular patterns.


Acquired in Bamako, Mali, by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart