So a while ago, I wrote an article (half-assed, might I add), on Central African cultures and the reflection of art in Bard's character design. Since then, I have reeducated myself and invite you to join me on an inquiry and reflection between Bard's character design and the makishi dancers of Central Africa.
In Zimbabwe, Zambia and, generally speaking, areas of Central and Southern Africa exists a rite of passage ceremony known as the mukanda, in which boys from between eight and twelve leave the village (symbolically die), endure trials, receive lessons, and return to the village (reborn as an adult). The mukanda ritual is ended with a dance in which the boys put on masks of certain characters and perform a patomime-like ritual in which they reemerge as an adult. One of these characters is the Makishi, who in Zambian culture, "represents the spirit of a deceased ancestor who returns to the world of the living to assist the boys" into adulthood. In other Vaka Chiyama Cha Mukwamayi communities, such as the Chokwe, the Makishi (the spirits of deceased ancestors) go from village to village announcing that the Mukanda is near.
Take this as you will, maybe it hints to Bard's lore. Maybe he is a spirit of the dead coming to warn and also protect mythical artifacts, or maybe Riot just needed to give support mains some mobility. Anyways, thanks for reading. Left a poll for if you think they could be related, or just coincidence.
As a bonus for you all, I will give you another spirit/entity/deity to think about: Kokopelli. For those who do not know who Kokopelli is, he is a fertility deity, often depicted as a humpbacked flute player, originating from Native American in the Southwestern United States. He is depicted as a traveller going from village to village, giving gifts or playing tricks. Some stories iterate him as a trickster god, the spirit of music, or a deity of fertility, presiding over childbirth and agriculture. One of the iterations describes Kokopelli as a chief playing his flute to guide the Hopi people out of a blinding storm of volcanic ash.
Food for thought, I guess. Bard is a mystical being and his mystique adds to his character, in my opinion. Be sure to look at images of the named spirits/entities/deities and judge for yourself if you think they somehow influence Bard's creation and lore.
P.P.S. I couldn't upload the images so please look at the makishi mask and garb yourself and compare. They look pretty similar in my opinion