Buffalo mask (sigma)

Vagala peoples, Nyamase group
20th–mid 20th century
more object details

General Description

Carved in the form of a highly stylized buffalo, this mask is viewed simultaneously from the front and rear. The mask is worn diagonally on the head. Locals describe the projecting beaklike form as a tail.

Sigma masks appear in the Simma masquerade performed by farmers at funeral celebrations and when a community's well-being is threatened, for example, by a drought or malevolent spirits.

Adapted from

  • Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.
  • Roslyn A. Walker, African Masks: The Art of Disguise, Label text, 2010.