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A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

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Masque Bamana

The Bambara live in the region around Bamako, the capital of Mali. 

Their traditions include six male societies,each with its own type of mask. 


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 The Ntomo is for young boys vertical projections placed transversely over the human face, representing man as God first created him. The Komo is the custodian of tradition and is concerned with all aspects of community life--agriculture, judicial processes, and passage rites. Its masks are of elongated animal form decorated with actual horns of antelope, quills of porcupine, bird skulls, and other objects. Masks of the Kono, which enforces civic morality, are also elongated and encrusted with sacrificial material. The Tyiwara uses a headdress representing, in the form of an antelope, the mythical being who taught men how to farm . The Kore, concerned with the sky and with the bringing of rain to make the crops grow, employs masks representing the hyena, lion, monkey, antelope, and horse. In addition there are masks of the Nama, which protect against sorcerers. Ancestor figures of the Bambara clearly derive from the same artistic tradition as do many of those of the Dogon; so also do their sculptures in wrought iron. Rectangular intersection of flat planes is a stylistic feature common to Bambara and Dogon sculpture.

Masque Bamana -profile

A fine Bamana mask XIXth century.

Provenance: Musée de Rennes, around 1960

High: 43 cm  

Masque Bamana- back

Collection David Norden (c) 2004 - Sold

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Bamana mask 

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The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

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