Our page banner is a detail of an African mask from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
Photo: (Creative Commons) © Wegman
This type of African mask is a Baule mask which is also known as a Goli mask. It is used in tribal dances during harvest festivals, in processions to honour distinguished visitors and at the funerals of important figures.
The circular face represents the life-giving force of the sun and the horns symbolize the great power of the buffalo. The mask is made of wood with two holes cut into the eyes to enable the wearer to see. The rectangular mouth is also typical of this type of mask.
The Baule are farmers who populate the eastern side of the Ivory Coast. They are part of the Akan people, one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa, who dwell in both Ghana and the Ivory Coast.