Mask in the form of a goat

20th century
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Burkina Faso


Overall: 18.4 x 24.1 x 32.4 cm (7 1/4 x 9 1/2 x 12 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood and pigment

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art



This goat mask, from the Gurunsi peoples in Burkina Faso, was worn during masquerades marking important occasions in the annual life cycle. Each mask represents an animal, wild or domestic. These characters, whether animal or human, also appear in the myths of origin of the lineages that own the masquerades. This goat mask represents a wild spirit from the bush. Gurunsi anumal masks have large round eyes surrounded by concentric circles and a short snout. They are covered with geometric patterns painted red, white, and black, and are repainted every year. The mask would have been worn like a cap on the head with a fiber or raffia costume attached to it.


About 1968, acquired in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (then Upper Volta), by Drs. Eli and Carolyn Newberger, Brookline; 2009, year-end gift of Eli and Carolyn Newberger to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 20, 2010)

Credit Line

Gift of Eli and Carolyn Newberger