Gan Bobo Iron Snake Burkina Faso
The representation of snakes is a central theme in the metalwork among the Gan. To a lesser extent, we can find the turtle, the caiman, the chameleon and the panther. The representation of snakes is the central subject of Gan's metal art. Protectors of the family and cultures, snakes are ambivalent, representing at the same time, the day, the light, the good, the transparency, but also symbolising the forces of darkness, evil and witchcraft. The number of heads attributed to each item is proportional to the extent of its power, each head representing a specific field of this power. The spirals are symbols of eternity and were a sign of belonging to the royal family. It seems that all of these objects belonged to persons of high lineage, the pieces were stored in sanctuaries or were buried. We distinguish a few big families of objects: the Torfan, which is a spiritual entity with one to ten heads, owned by the shaman, healer. It helps to detect the sneaky side of evil persons.