It would be an animal - genius called Ciwara who would have taught the Bambara to cultivate the land. The latter remember the myth through crest masks, of which this example forms a rare abstract version from the Sikasso region, accompanied by stylized zoomorphic figures. The narrow structure is flat, openwork, bringing together geometric patterns and animal heads.
Velvety matte patina, abrasions, desication cracks.
Established in central and southern Mali, the Bambara , Bamana" or "unbelievers ", as the Muslims have called them, belong to the large Mande group, along with the Soninke and the Malinke.
Worn at the top of the head and held in place by a basketry hat, the crests accompanied the dancers during the rituals of the tòn, an association dedicated to agricultural work.
The masks traversed the field while leaping in order to drive out from this one the nyama, malefic emanations, and to detect any danger, or to flush out the malevolent genies who could ravish the soul of the cultivated plants as well as the life force of their seeds.
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