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The Mossi number 2,2 to 3,5 million and represent a third of the population of Burkina Faso. The blacksmiths-sculptors formed a separate caste and lived in separate quarters. They were feared by their neighbors and participated actively in rituals. They made jewelry, metal and wood sculpture, statues and masks.
The Mossi are unique in Burkina Faso for their centralized and hierarchical political system. The nakomse are the ruling elite and are direct descendants of the first invaders from the south. Mossi bronze and brass figures are owned and used ritually by this ruling elite even though the aristocracy had adopted Islam in the seventeenth century. These figures, for the most part female, commemorated ancestors and were kept inside the hut of the oldest of the wives. They were brought out and presented on auspicious days and at the time of the annual sacrifice when the first fruits of the harvest would be offered.