Representations of insects and scorpions (68-36-79) in art attempt to explain the world. In ancient Egypt the scarab beetle was a symbol of the rising sun and rebirth. Akan metalcasters cast beetles and scorpions as weights for measuring gold dust. The beetle refers to voraciousness as in the saying "I am as hungry as a ground beetle." The scorpion weight is associated with a proverb about the scorpion biting not with his mouth but with his tail, a metaphor for enemies working in secret.

        The large Nuna mask depicts a butterfly, one in a cast of masquerade characters, and represents a bush spirit. Because butterflies signal the coming of rain, they are connected with the start of the farming season. The dancer's swirling movement of the mask's broad, richly patterned wings suggests the flight of the butterfly.

Butterfly mask with birds and chameleons
Nuna peoples, Burkina Faso
Mid-20th century
Wood, pigment, metal
Gift of Walt Disney World Co., a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, 2005-6-47

Direct cast weight of a beetle
Akan peoples, Ghana
18th to late 19th century
Copper alloy
Gift of Robert B. Dean,