African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bambara mask
Bambara mask (N° 23068)
This African mask Bambara has a long face, framed by growths representing mats. Intersecting linear patterns are incised on the matte surface.
Patina of abraded use. Erosions and indigenous restoration.
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The Bambara, Bamana (or "unbeliever" for Muslims), living in central and southern Mali, belong to the large Mande group, like the Soninke and the Malinke. Animists, they also believe in the existence of a creator god generically called Ngala, who would have 266 sacred attributes.
He coexists with another androgynous god, Faro, master of the Word. It is during the initiation ceremonies of young boys relating to the society of Ntomo, n'domo, and shared with their neighbors Malinke (including the Marka sub-group composed of Fulani and Moors living north of the Bamanas), that the Bambara make these masks dance. The young people then entered the Komo association, the most respected of them, which governed community life.
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