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Bamana Forged Iron Mask Mali African Art

$225.00
Product #: 100956
US Shipping: $20.98
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Title Bamana Forged Iron Mask Mali Africa
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Mali
People Bamana
Materials Iron
Approximate Age unknown
Dimensions 11.25 inches x 8 inches
Overall Condition Very Poor.  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 FRAGILE. Rusted surface


Additional Information: There have been a number of iron mask-like sculptures from the Bamana of Mali. There is a long tradition of figurative iron, bronze and brass casting in the Western Sudan reaching back to the period of the great Empire of Mali as early as the 12th century. The age of this interestingly cast iron mask is undetermined but it does reflect an earlier period of bronze or brass casting. The facial features on this mask are similar to those found on wood sculptures from the Bamana.  These masks are forged by blacksmiths working them into shapes that could be worn, simply carried, or kept in a ritual location. Today there is no active tradition of these masks being used. In fact as little is known about forged iron masks among the Bamana or Dogon or Senufo or any of the Western Sudanic groups it would be conjecture to assert more than this at this time.  This mask does indicate the skill of the blacksmith in forging a mask out of iron, a medium much more difficult to work than wood.