What I love about African crafts is their simple yet compelling iconic power, their capacity to immediately tell a story that speaks about traditions, ancestral usage, talent and meticulousness.
This is especially true when it comes to wooden hand carved objects, where the artisans’ manual skills are expressed at their best, as I am sure you have appreciated with the lovely Bamileke and Senufo stools.
Continuing to explore the wood carving tradition, today let me introduceanother striking and visually powerful object of the African craftsmanship: simple in the regular and geometric development of their decorative patterns, strong in their tribal evocative power, have a closer look at the beautiful Sun Masks from the Bwa people of Burkina Faso and see how they can easily become an original accent point among your walls.
|| Be inspired:
Hand-carved in Burkina Faso, Bwa Sun Masks are used during agricultural ceremonies as propitiatory items – Credits
African masks wall decor : Burkina Faso and the Bwa people
Burkina Faso is a relatively small Western African Country, landlocked between Ghana, Mali and Niger. The deep poverty Burkina has always experienced (it is among the 5 poorest world country) contrasts deeply with its impressive cultural richness and diversity.
This is partly due to the fact that Burkina, during the spreading of Islam and Christianity over the neighbouring countries, has solidly remained attached to the ancient tribal traditions for which Africa is so well known. Still At present, so many Burkinabe tribes continue to honour the ancestral spirits and the spirits of Nature with prayers, sacrifices and propitiatory items. Bwa people in particular, scattered among Mali and Burkina, are among the most prolific producers of art with a rich masks’ tradition that is still evolving and flourishing.
Some of the beautiful wooden masks hand carved by the Bwa People of Burkina Faso – Credits
African masks wall decor : Propitiatory masks
Their Sun Masks, specifically, are used in agricultural ceremonies to promote a healthy and abundant harvest. Made in sese wood (a tropical African tree of the legume family, known for its poisonous bark and hard durable wood), they are mainly coloured in brown, grey, white and red, all natural pigments coming from stones and ground; they can easily be referred to the Sun – with their circular design and radiating, triangular patterns of dark brown and white pigments – but also to the moon and the many cycles of Mother Nature. Additional decor details include concentric circles used for the eyes and mouth as well as sharp, jagged teeth.
Bwa Sun Masks can be found in several dimensions but normally they come in a pretty much big size, up to 1 mt diameter.
Bwa Sun Masks may vary in dimensions but it is more common to find them in the medium/big shape (50-100 cm diameter) – Credits
African masks as Accent elements for your home
Hung on walls or displayed on stands, Bwa Sun Masks can become unique decor items for your home, adding an artisanal ethnic touch even to modern designs.
Have a look at this two chic dining rooms here and how the Masks stand well on the walls with natural coloured furnitures and few other tribal items around.
And when they are displayed on coloured walls or wallpapers the final effect is even more terrific!
Since Bwa Sun Masks can be found in different sizes and decorative patterns, they can be elegantly grouped together to create an eye catching tribal corner.
Different sizes and different patterns match even better together – Credits
More modern and original versions of the Bwa Sun Masks exist, such as the coloured ones.
Look at this blue and yellow versions and how they glow gorgeously on contrast coloured walls!
Impressive, aren’t they? I personally love them and how they contribute to make your living space charming and unique.
If you are a fan of the ethno chic trend too, have a look at other African décor items to style your house with that unique tribal allure.