African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Ci wara mask
Ci wara mask (N° 17936)
This variant of the African mask Ci Wara des Bambara, Bamana, is embellished with a hatched decoration featuring the coat of the antelope, leather fringes, and pompoms attached to the copper slats engraved with the repulsed. Oily matte patina. Desication cracks.
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Sculpated by the blacksmith numu , also playing the role of soothsayer and healer, this vertical crest, stylized, is represented here without the successive arches appearing the mane, but with a small on the back since it is a female. 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 'fauve of the earth'. Worn at the top of the skull and held in place by a basket-shaped toque, these cimiers accompanied the dancers during the rituals of the ten, an association dedicated to agricultural work. The masks bound the field as they leaped to drive out the evil scents of nyama, and to detect any danger, or to flush out evil geniuses that could delight the souls of cultivated plants and the life force of their seeds.
In central and southern Mali, the Bambara , Bamana (c) or unbelievers, as the Muslims have named them, belong to the great Mande group, along with the Soninke and Malinke. Animists, they believe in the existence of a creative god generically called Ngala, who has 266 sacred attributes. One, every day of the 9 lunar months that lasts the gestation of a child. Ngala maintains the order of the universe. Its existence coexists with another androgynous god called Faro, who has given all the qualities to men and who grows the fruits of the earth.