Bobo culture artists create large horizontal masks known as butterfly masks. This Hornbill Butterfly Mask with Triangular Patterns incorporates all of the typical features of a traditional butterfly mask: The body is made of a long, horizontal wooden plank; the eyes are carved like a bullseye and painted white, black, and red; and the curved beak protrudes and hangs over a protruding, circular mouth.
In Western Africa, the butterfly is considered to be a bush spirit, which is a nature spirit that takes an animal form. The butterfly is a symbol of new life that brings rain in the spring, and butterfly masks are primarily danced in annual agricultural festivals. In addition, butterfly masks may also be used in initiations of children into adulthood and for funerary celebrations that honor high status family members and ensure their safe journey into the afterlife. 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