Mamadou Cisse's Shop: Tribal Masks
Mamadou is an expert in tribal masks and can identify the tribe and quality of most any West African mask. I bought several masks from him and had others that I had bought in Ghan and Mali appraised. Most masks that are affordable will be tourist masks, so the main thing here is to stick to traditional materials, technique, and size. Finely crafted tourist masks can gain value over time, depending upon the tribal origin. More recently, i've tried to acquire museum quality masks. These are masks originally made for the home and used for fetish, before they were discarded. I have a few old masks bought from Mamadou that I treasure very much.Related to:
- Theater Travel
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
shopping is plentiful but pretty much the same items everywhere. Bukinabe cotten and crafts are exceptional. Beware of the prices tourist prices are an average of 3x higher. barter down and be prepared to walk off. they will usually chase you down. Bring a calculater along for negotiating. Also the official language is French but generally someone nearby will speak english if you ask.
Grand Marché, Bobo-Dioulasso: A more relaxed market
The Grand Marché in Bobo, Burkina's second city, is much smaller, but also much calmer, than that in Ouagadougou. It's still a sizeable place, but there are far fewer hangers-on, and you can usually browse at length before anyone exhibits any interest in bargaining. The craft section is very well-stocked, and it s a lot less cramped than in Ouagadougou.
What to buy: Batik-style prints are very distinctive locally, and the small greeting cards that feature tiny batik prints are sold all over West Africa, but are often made in Burkina. The larger prints are exceptionally attractive, and sometimes feature depictions of local legends - have someone explain the meaning to you before you purchase. Beware batiks that smell very strongly of petrol: they'll contaminate everything in your bag temporarily but more importantly they tend to fade very quickly.
Wooden carvings are also popular, especially masks in the Mossi and Bobo traditions (the Mossi make large antelope masks). The slim wooden figures are especially beautiful, elegant pieces of art sold at extremely low prices.
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