African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Ti wara Bamana
Ci Wara Bambara crest mask (N° 21681)
The Ti-wara, crest masks of African art.
It would be an animal - genius called Ciwara who would have taught the Bambara to cultivate the land. The latter recall the myth through the stylized representation of a hippotrague antelope, whose name ci wara means "false of the earth". A stylized version of the Ci Wara, it depicts an animal with a tapered snout topped by horns and straight ears.
Dark oiled patina. Abrasions.
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Worn at the top of the skull and held in place by a sort of small basket, these crests accompanied the dancers during the rituals of the tòn , an association dedicated to agricultural work.
The masks would leap around the field in order to chase away the nyama, evil effluvia, from it and to detect any danger, or to flush out the evil genies that could take away the souls of the cultivated plants as well as the life force of their seeds.
Established in central and southern Mali, the Bamara," Bamana" or "unbelievers", as the Muslims have 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. 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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