The Bwa inhabit some zones of southwestern Burkina Faso, as far as the city of San, in Mali. They are pacific farmers.
The Bwa before was known as Bobo Ule or red Bobo, but they are not related to the Bobo Fing or Bobo Madare.
The older Bwa masks were made with leaves, feathers and vegetal fibers. They were used in the rituals of the Do initiatic society. Later, the Bwa began to carve wooden masks for their rituals, being based on the masks of their neighbors the Gurunsi/Nunuma and the Bobo.
All Bwa masks represent the spirits of the nature who have some influence on the human being.
Now they not only use masks for initiation ceremonies, but in market days, funerales, and rituals related to agriculture.
If you want to see interesting scenes of ritual dances with masks in Burkina Faso obtained by professor Christopher D. Roy, please click HERE. Perhaps you are surprised by the big amount photographies of ritual dances with masks exposed in this website. Ritual dances are frequently celebrated in Burkina Fasso. These are some examples:
- Celebration of the Samo, to the west of Ouahigouya at the end of
season to attract rains.
- The festival of masks of Pouni, every two odd years between March and April at Pouni, 140 km to the west of Ouagadougou. The different ethnic groups meet to display and interchange their masks.
- The festival Warba of Ganzourgou, that is celebrated during the month of November in Zorgho every two years. The Warba is a Mossi ritual reserved originally to ceremonies in enthronement or funerales. At the moment it accompanies also weddings and other popular celebrations.
- The Festival of Masks and Arts of Dédougou (FESTIMA) that is celebrated every two even years during the month of April in the province of Mouhoun.
Please, click on the images to see more masks: