African art > African mask > Cimier Bambara
Crest Ci wara, Tyiwara, Bamana (N° 19044)
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. They remember the myth through the stylized representation of a hippotrague antelope, whose name ci wara means " fawn of the earth". This vertical sculpture of Ci Wara, where the animal is more realistic than usual, is represented surmounted by female figures sitting back to back. The masks usually danced in pairs. Matt patina, metal inlays, slight cracks of desiccation and abrasions.
Worn on the top of the skull and held in place by a basketry toque, these crests accompanied the dancers during the rituals of tòn , an association dedicated to agricultural work.
The masks ran across the field, leaping up and down in order to chase away from it the nyama, evil scents, and to detect any danger, or to flush out the evil geniuses who could ravish the soul of the cultivated plants as well as the vital 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 has 266 sacred attributes. One, for each day of the 9 lunar months that a child is born. 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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