Toussiana Plank Bird Mask
The most famous mask of the Toussiana from Burkina Faso is the Ioniake, composed of a square or rectangular wooden plank with the emblem of their clan, either a pair of horns or one or more birds heads (as is the case here).
As far as we know, the Ioniake mask was mainly used during initiation ceremonies.
The masks from the Toussiana people of southern Burkina Faso are not often seen. This example is a typical plank mask with stylised bird wings to the side and forked tail beneath. Above the central rectangle a hornbill neck and head is carved. They are coloured to represent the African Pied Hornbill; the hornbill is a bird sacred to both the Toussiane and the Senufo, symbolising fertility. The central part of the plank is decorated with a stylised body of the bird and is coloured with a darker pigment. This area and the raised area either side are embedded with dark red beads which is a feature of all Toussiana plank masks.
The Toussian live in the southeast of Burkina Faso, on the border between the Ivory Coast and Mali.