African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bambara Mask
Horizontal crest Ci wara Bamana (N° 19129)
The fifth initiatory society Bambara, Bamana, is called tyiwara (ci, cultivate, wara, fauve) and is still practiced nowadays in some villages. These crest masks evoking the antelope, oryx or daged hippotrague depending on the case, are declined vertically and horizontally. Presenting themselves to the public in pairs, male and female, the wearers of the masks adopt a symbolic choreography related to agriculture.
Belonging to the regional type Goso kun ,emanating from the region of Bamako, this horizontal crest is strewn with triangular incisions, patterns and hatchings evoking the animal's coat. Its tapered ears are perforated at regular intervals. Fatty black-brown patina, abrasions and lacks on one of the ears.
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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 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.
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