The Art of Burkina Faso

by Christopher D. Roy
University of Iowa

b.3 The Kaya Style

The facial portion of Kaya masks is always convex, but frequently lacks the bisecting vertical ridge of Yatenga and Risiam styles. In Kaya the plank is short, broad, and is often broken up into several branches and is irregular in outline. Kaya style masks generally lack any carved patterns, and geometric shapes are roughly painted on the mask with white clay .

The fiber costume is extremely scanty and rather roughly made, consisting of a skirt, and cowl over the back of the head.

Kaya style masks are used by the nyonyosé in northeastern Mossi country, in the area of the town of Kaya and farther north. This area is bounded on the west by the sparsely populated areas between Samtaba and the Lake of Bam (near Kongoussi). The Kaya style gives way to the Boulsa mask style in the area between Kaya and Boussouma in the south, between Kaya and Pibaoré in the southeast, and between Pissila and Tougouri in the east. In the north, Mossi villages gradually give way to Kurumba villages. As in northern Risiam, the transitional zone between the Mossi and the Kurumba is not sharply defined.