Mossi biiga doll, Burkina Faso
mid 20th century
ex private collection, US
These figures, called biiga (child), are used by Mossi girls as dolls, but also to prepare the girls for their future
rolls as mothers. Over the years, the girl will carry and hold the doll and treat it with butters or oils. While some of
the figures are eventually discarded, some are passed down or inherited from a family member. While the primary
use of the figures is for education, some also hold importance for adult women. Often times a woman will bring
the doll along when she departs her father's home to live with her new husband, the roll of the figure becomes
one of fertility in this case.
Additional examples and information can be found in "ISN'T S/HE A DOLL", pg 64.