African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bamana mask
Bamana mask (N° 22378)
Ti-wara masks in African art.
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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 female figures.
Velvety matte patina, cracks.
Worn at the top of the head and held in place by a basketry hat, these 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.
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. Animists, they believe in the existence of a creator god generically called Ngala, who has 266 sacred attributes. One, for each day of the 9 lunar months that the gestation of a child lasts. Ngala maintains order in the universe. His existence coexists with another androgynous god called Faro, who gave all the qualities to men and who makes the fruits of the earth grow.
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