Among the common animals that are portrayed in Western African masks is the bush cow, or buffalo, which is believed in cultures such as the Bobo to personify an important deity known as Do, a nature spirit that is believed to be nature’s life force. Bush cow masks are primarily seen in harvest festivals, in entertainment masquerades for tourists, and in ceremonies that include funerals and initiations into adulthood.
The Bobo culture has developed masks that have been heavily influenced by neighboring cultures, including the Lela, Nunuma, Winiama, and Nuna. All of these cultures predominantly use red, white, and black pigments and strongly geometric patterns in their art. This Bobo Bush Cow Mask, likewise, is elaborately decorated with geometric patterns consisting mainly of triangles, painted in red and white pigments, on a black background. The Bobo mask also features a rope across the back; the wearer of this mask bites this knotted rope to hold it securely as he dances. Researched by Brandellia Hang
For more information, you may contact the researcher(s) noted in the title of this exhibit entry, or Dr. Billie Follensbee, the professor of the course, at BillieFollensbee@MissouriState.edu