African art > Mask > Ntomo Mask
Ntomo Bambara Mask (N° 16620)
French African art collection.
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This African mask of the ntomo, an initiation society of uncircumcised young people widespread in the Niger River region, is considered a male mask, given the six horns, one of which is missing. This mask appears mainly during the harvest season. At the top appears the effigy of Nyeleni , the ideal wife of the initiates after circumcision. This old copy has erosions and shortcomings, it is accessorized with a two-tone canvas hood fringed with cotton stamps. Matte patina abraded.
Establishes in central and southern Mali, in a savannah area, the Bambara ," Bamana " or " unbelievers ", as the Muslims have named them, belong to the great Mande group, along with the Soninke and Malinke. Mainly farmers, but also herders, they make up the largest ethnic group in Mali. Animists, they believe the existence of a god requires 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 grows the fruits of the earth. Groups of nyamakala craftsmen, specifically the blacksmiths named numu, are in charge of the sculpture of ritual objects, endowed with the nyama, occult energy. Using fire and magical objects, the role of healer and soothsayer is also attributed to them. Their powers are passed on to their wives, who alone have the right to produce pottery.
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