The doll is a popular subject of carving among the Mossi of Burkina Faso. One of the doll's functions is to train little girls for their future roles as mothers, another function is magic. The toys are fed, washed, and dressed in bits of cloth and carried about on small backs just like the babies that are bundled on the backs of their mothers. A downward extension from the forehead has been interpreted both as an elephant's trunk and a phallus. Another interpretation is that this extension represents the hairdo typical of unmarried Mossi girls. The wooden dolls are made in the blacksmiths' compound by smiths in their spare time.
Provenance: Raskin Private Collection