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Tribal art > African mask > Ci wara Bamana

Bamana, Bambara, Tji wara crest (N° 20162)

African art and Bambara founding myths
. This abstract sculpture composed of an exceptional arrangement of diverse forms evokes the antelope-horse Ciwara ("false of the earth") who is said to have taught man agriculture. She is also said to have given him the first grain. The crest was attached to a basketry hat by raffia ties. Beautiful glossy patina. Worn at the top of the skull, these crests accompanied the dancers during the rituals of the tòn , an association dedicated to agricultural work. The masks would leap across the field to drive away the nyama, evil effluvia, from the field and to detect any danger, or to flush out evil genies that could take away the souls of the plants grown as well as the life force of their seeds.

Established in central and southern Mali, the Bamara," Bamana" or "unbelievers", as the Muslims have named them, belong to the large Mande group, along with the Soninke and Malinke. Animists, they believe in the existence of a creator god generically called Ngala, who is endowed with 266 sacred attributes. One for each day of the 9 lunar months required for the gestation of a child. Ngala maintains the order of the universe. His existence coexists with another androgynous god called Faro, who gave all the qualities to men and who makes the fruits of the earth grow.  

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OriginCollection P. Malisse
EthnyBambara
Countrymali
Material(s)wood
Height54
Width10
Weight1.40 Kg
Estimated dating1ère motié xx°
Socle includedYes

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