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majority of the Mossi reside in Burkina Faso, Ghana's northern neighbor. The Mossi
began as a dynasty of the Mamprusi but now is a separate group, which identifies
itself as sharing Mamprusi origins. The Mossi are primarily farmers raising millet,
maize, sesame and peanuts. They have a hierarchical political system in which the
ruling class is of direct descendents of the founding invaders. Despite the Islamic
influence, the Mossi practice the worship of invented spirits for different aspects
of nature and daily life. The ritual worshipoften
includes animal sacrifice to honor the royal ancestors. In a polygamous marriage
the women are expected to tend their husband's fields, the product of which is to
be sold and traded. After a woman has preformed her obligations to her husband she
must then tend her own crop from which she could feed herself and her children.
If a husband were to die, his brothers are expected to marry his wives and support
his children. Young men often leave their community to travel to a main city or
the Ivory Coast to find work and opportunity. They always return to their place
of birth to die. Although women are guaranteed basic human rights under Ghanaian
law, they are often mistreated, particularly in rural areas.
This small, abstract figurine represents a female torso
and head. It is a type of doll that young Mossi girls use for play. By caring for
a doll as she would a child, a girl becomes familiar with her future role as a mother.
Dolls are sometimes used in rituals when a woman has difficulty conceiving a child
or dies in childbirth. (VMFA)