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Unknown Maker
Plank Mask (Karanga)
unknown date

This Karanga mask, most likely an antelope hybrid, is a mask made to ease the confusion of “moments of passage” in a person’s life. These include the celebration of a birth, a death or the transition from childhood into adulthood. For the Mossi and Kurumba peoples, specific animals or hybrids represent a particular familial clan. The Karanga mask, which embodies the totemic animal, works to protect the members of its clan, and serves as a link between ancestors and their descendants. Karanga masks are therefore often seen at funerals of prominent family members, to ensure proper burial, and to facilitate transportation into the afterlife. This mask is in the Risiam style, featuring a tall plank, a convex face and round eyes, and originates in the Northern Mossi or southern Kurumba lands. This example can be further categorized in the Voltaic style, due to its two parallel planks joined at the bottom and the top, and the lack of prominent incisions on the face. It is difficult to definitively attribute this mask to either the Mossi or the Kurumba peoples, because a carver commonly sells masks to both peoples, regardless of their own familial ties.

 
Unknown Maker
Mossi or Kurumba peoples
Plank Mask (Karanga)
unknown date
wood, pigment, string
143.1 x 15.7 x 27.4 cm
Gift of Justin and Elisabeth Lang, 1984
M84-107

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