Tribal art > African mask > Bamana mask
Bamana mask (N° 20159)
Rare African zoomorphic mask of the Bambara with an articulated tongue. Geometric patterns are engraved on this mask, giving an illusion of texture. Natural matte patina partially blackened.
Established in central and southern Mali, in a savannah area, the Bambara, "Bamana" or "unbelievers", as the Muslims have called them, belong to the large Mande group, along with the Soninke and the Malinke. Mostly farmers, but also breeders, they make up the largest ethnic group in Mali. The groups of Bambara artisans nyamakala , more specifically the blacksmiths named numu , are in charge of sculpting ritual objects, endowed with the nyama , occult energy. Using fire and magical objects, the role of healer and diviner is also assigned to them.
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Their powers are transmitted to their women, who alone have the right to produce pottery.
Six male associations, the Dyow, using the Bambara masks, structure the Bambara community: young people first enter the n'tomo circumcision society, then comes the komo society, the nama, the kono, the koré and finally the agrarian society Tyi Wara.