African art > Black iron objects, black iron masks > Bamana iron

Bamana iron (N° 21131)

Belgian African art collection.
Thick old patina for this stylized animal figure of the Bambara, made of black iron. The mammal is a symbol of fertility and vigor. Grainy texture, ochre patina.
Established in central and southern Mali, in a savannah area, the Bambara, "Bamana" or "unbelievers", as the Muslims have called them, belong to the large Mande group, along with the Soninke and the Malinke. Mostly farmers, but also breeders, they make up the largest ethnic group in Mali. The groups of Bambara artisans nyamakala , more specifically the blacksmiths named numu , are in charge of sculpting ritual objects, endowed with the nyama , occult energy. Using fire and magical objects, the role of healer and diviner is also assigned to them.
Their powers are transmitted to their women, who alone have the right to produce pottery.
Six male associations, the Dyow, using the Bambara masks, structure the Bambara community: young people first enter the n'tomo circumcision society, then comes that of the komo ,the nama, the kono, the koré and finally the agrarian society Tyi Wara.  

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OriginEx-collection belge JP L.
Countryburkina faso
Material(s)fer noir
Height cm9
Depth18 cm
Width5 cm
Weight0.30 Kg

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