TITLE: Winiama Leprosy Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Africa
COUNTRY: Burkina Faso
ETHNICITY: Winiama
DESCRIPTION: Protection Mask Representing a Leper
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Healing; Protection & Purification; Secret Society
AGE: ca. 1990s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: kaolin

The Winiama people are a small ethnic group inhabiting Burkina Faso. They share with their neighboring peoples, the Nuna, a highly geometrical masking style. The Winiama believe in a supreme creator god, who can manifest as Su, a sacred mask. Through masked rituals, Su‘s power can be invoked to protect the village, promote fertility, honor the dead, or inflict harm on enemies.

Some masks, such as this one, can be worn only by the highest ranking members of a secret mask society. It would have been worn with a raffia fiber collar and full body suit. The mask is intended to protect the village from the disease of leprosy. The disease was previously thought to be caused by a curse cast by a sorcerer, or by some wrongdoing of the afflicted person.

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TITLE: Nuna Chameleon Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Africa
COUNTRY: Burkina Faso
ETHNICITY: Nuna
DESCRIPTION: Chameleon Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Adult Initiation; Divination; Entertainment; Funeral; Purification; Spirit Invocation
AGE: ca. 2000
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: kaolin; pigment; dyed plant fibers

The Nuna and related Nunuma people inhabit Burkina Faso and share with their neighbors, the Bwa and Winiama peoples, a highly geometrical masking style.  There are two major types of masks used by the Nuna peoples. Sacred masks (wankr) are said to have descended from the sky and are danced with weapons in their hands in important ceremonies only.  When not being worn, they are used as sacrificial altars. Revealed masks dance only on ritual occasions.

Other masks (wamu), such as this one, are created by villagers for specific purposes.  Animal masks are danced in mimicry of the animal itself.  Unlike wankr dancers, wamu dancers carry only whips and are mainly used for entertainment and funerals.

All masks may be used for spirit invocation, boys initiation ceremonies, village purification, or divination.

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TITLE: Nuna Antelope Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Africa
COUNTRY: Burkina Faso
ETHNICITY: Nuna
DESCRIPTION: Antelope Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Adult Initiation; Divination; Entertainment; Funeral; Purification; Spirit Invocation
AGE: ca. 1990s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: kaolin; pigment; dyed plant fibers

The Nuna and related Nunuma people inhabit Burkina Faso and share with their neighbors, the Bwa and Winiama peoples, a highly geometrical masking style.  There are two major types of masks used by the Nuna peoples. Sacred masks (wankr) are said to have descended from the sky and are danced with weapons in their hands in important ceremonies only.  When not being worn, they are used as sacrificial altars. Revealed masks dance only on ritual occasions.

Other masks (wamu), such as this one, are created by villagers for specific purposes.  Animal masks are danced in mimicry of the animal itself.  Unlike wankr dancers, wamu dancers carry only whips and are mainly used for entertainment and funerals.

All masks may be used for spirit invocation, boys initiation ceremonies, village purification, or divination.

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TITLE: Nuna Hornbill Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Africa
COUNTRY: Burkina Faso
ETHNICITY: Nuna
DESCRIPTION: Hornbill Mask
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Adult Initiation; Divination; Entertainment; Funeral; Purification; Spirit Invocation
AGE: 1990s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: kaolin; pigment

The Nuna and related Nunuma people inhabit Burkina Faso and share with their neighbors, the Bwa and Winiama peoples, a highly geometrical masking style.  There are two major types of masks used by the Nuna peoples. Sacred masks (wankr) are said to have descended from the sky and are danced with weapons in their hands in important ceremonies only.  When not being worn, they are used as sacrificial altars. Revealed masks dance only on ritual occasions.

Other masks (wamu), such as this one, are created by villagers for specific purposes.  Animal masks are danced in mimicry of the animal itself.  Unlike wankr dancers, wamu dancers carry only whips and are mainly used for entertainment and funerals.

All masks may be used for spirit invocation, boys initiation ceremonies, village purification, or divination.

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