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Bamana Mask with Striated Figure on Top Mali African 38 Inch

Regular Price: $450.00

Special Price: $399.00

Product #: 103152
US Shipping: $49.98
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Title Bamana Mask with Striated Figure on Top Mali African 38 Inch
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Mali
People Bamana
Materials wood
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 38 Inches
Width: 7.5 Inches
Depth: 7 Inches
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair shallow cracks, scrapes, scratches. Several holes in the rim are torn through


Additional Information: A discernably Bamana face, but that is not the dominant feature of this creative mask.  The face has the expected features: long angular nose, one braid on either side of the face.  But the figure on top is striking, with deep, gouged striations and an abstract face and head.  There is a hole in each hand; perhaps the figure once held weapons or dance wands.  The torso is covered with a fabric cloth.  This fabulous and unique mask shows significant signs of age and use. 


The artistic diversity of the Bamana is without doubt one of the most astounding, and confounding, of all West African groups. It is interesting that perhaps their closest rivals in complexity are their neighbors to the north and east, the Dogon, with whom they share certain stylistic similarities. Complex religious, funerary, initiation, and agricultural rites have resulted in an enormous pantheon of ritual objects. When collectors think of Bamana, the image of a "chi wara" often leaps to mind. These stunning, zoomorphic headdresses, danced during the planting of crops, employ the carved head and horns of antelopes, as well as zig-zag, open-work designs, reportedly representing the path of the sun. A basketry, cap-like structure is attached to the bottom so that it can be worn. Other recognizable masks are not as well understood, and their use reflects the mind-boggling complexity of the predominantly animist Bamana religion. Among these are the animal-form masks such as this, often quite abstract, used in the "kono" and "kore" societies. One will see horses, hyenas, bush antelopes, and other animals depicted in these fascinating masks. Some masks are more naturalistic, though still highly-stylized, and are similar to Dogon masks of similar construction. Also well-known are the "ntomo" masks, with their numerous vertical projections on the top of the head. These masks are often decorated with colored string and cowries, and are danced for young boys prior to their initiation. 


For more information on Kono Masks see Jean-Paul Colleyn (ed.), Bamana-The Art of Existence in Mali .pp. 185-191