National Geographic : 1987 Aug
that may have been a sanctu ary. Dating from the Round Head period, the figure covers the white image of a woman whose legs are still seen. Mea suring about five feet high, the masked figure sprouts plants from its arms and thighs. Created about 7,000 years ago, this Tassili painting is perhaps the oldest record of the cult of the mask, still prac ticed in the ceremonies of sub Saharan tribes. Only 12 years ago I bought a recently made mask in Ouagadougou, Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso), that bears a marked resemblance to this ancient image.