Bobo Wooden Crocodile Mask
The Bwa or Bobo-Wule are an ethnic group indigenous to central Burkina-Faso and Mali.
About 85% of the Bwa population still retain their animist believes which is reflected in their carvings
and have been identified as the primary sculpted art form of the people.
This large stunning crocodile bench is related to the water spirit, guarantor of fertility and prosperity.
There’s an interesting tribe in Bazoul, Burkina Faso around 30 kilometers from the capital Ouagadougou, that share their pond with more than 100 of the razor-toothed creatures.
Crocodiles may be one of the deadliest hunters in the animal kingdom, but in a small village in Burkina Faso, it is not unusual to see someone sitting atop one of the fearsome reptiles.
“We got used to the crocodiles when we were young, swimming in the water with them and all that,” said Pierre Kabore, just a few meters away from a crocodile feasting on chicken provided by the village.
“Now we can always approach them and sit on them – and if you have the courage, you can lie on them too.
There’s no problem, they are sacred crocodiles. They don’t do anything to anyone.”
According to local legend, the startling relationship with the predators dates back to at least the 15th century.
The village was in the grip of an agonizing drought until the crocodiles led women to a hidden pond where the population could slake their thirst.
The villagers organized a party to celebrate and thank the reptiles.
A celebration known as Koom Lakre is still held every year during which villagers make sacrifices and ask the animals to grant their wishes of health, prosperity and a good harvest.
Far from being considered a threat, the crocodiles are deemed to have a mystical connection with Bazoule.
Crocodiles are represented as the soul of our ancestors and if one of them dies, they are buried and even given a funeral as if they were human.
“When a misfortune is about to happen in the village, they cry out.
Elders are charged with interpreting the cries, and then make wishes to ward off bad luck.”