African art > African mask > Sogoni kun Bambara
Ci Wara Bamana Vertical Crest Mask (N° 18915)
Gracious Ti Wara in African art.
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Rare figurative variant of the mask ci wara or sogoni kun according to the regions, harmoniously combining geometric elements, an animal figure, and a couple figure. The ornamentation is in the form of copper leaf cuts, pellets and triangles applied on the wood. Dark patina, ochre residues. Cracks of desiccation.
It would be an animal-genius called Ciwara who would have taught the Bambara to cultivate the land. The Bambara remember the myth through the stylized representation of a hippotrague antelope, whose name ci wara means " fawn of the earth".
Carried on the top of the skull and held in place by a sort of small basket, these crest accompanied the dancers during the rituals of the tòn , an association dedicated to agricultural work.
The masks ran across the field, leaping up and down to chase away the evil scent of nyama and to detect any danger, or to flush out the evil geniuses who could ravish the souls of the cultivated plants and the life force of their seeds.
Established in central and southern Mali, the Bambara ," Bamana " or " unbelievers ", as the Muslims named them, belong to the large Mande group, along with the Soninke and Malinke. Animists, they believe in the existence of a creator god generically called Ngala, who is endowed with 266 sacred attributes. One, for each day of the 9 lunar months required for the gestation of a child. Ngala maintains the order of the universe. Her 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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