Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Marka Mask with Metal Mali African Art

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Title Wild Beads of Africa Old Powderglass Beads From the Collection of Billy Steinberg
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Mali
People Marka
Materials Wood, metal, string, pigment and cloth
Approximate Age 20th century
Height (in) 22
Width (in) 6
Depth (in) 19
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 Cracked bottom, well worn patina

Additional Information: Wonderful metal decoration!

Janiform masks are commonly found among the Marka, the Bamana and the Malinke. The Marka, living in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso are neighbors of the Bamana. Today they are heavily Islamised, however they often retain the use of masks and figures for ceremonies and rituals closely related to the Bamana

The Bamana are members of the Mande culture, a large and powerful group of peoples in western Africa. Kaarta and Segou are Bamana city-states, which were established in the 17th century and continued to have political influence throughout the western Sudan states into the 19th century. At this time religious wars broke out throughout the region, setting Islamized societies against those who preferred to embrace traditional Bamana views. A dichotomy between traditional and Islamic views still exists today in Mali, and one may expect to encounter representations of both cultures existing side by side and quite often in syncretic combinations.