|Bamana Tribe, Mali|
This mask is one of the more finely carved masks of its type and possesses a very bold presence; it is heavily saturated with oils, well-beyond what one typically observes in this type of mask. The carving lines are exceptionally geometric and pronounced, creating a work that can stand alongside the most innovative fine art painting or sculpture. The mask can be enjoyed from a variety of angles and is not a flat, one-dimensional work. It would be fine on a wall or in any room environment on its custom-made base, from which it can be removed.
|Location of Origin: Africa|
|Medium/Materials: heavily oil-saturated wood, stain|
|Dimensions: 16” (40.64 cm) h7.5” (19 cm)(w) x 3.5” (8.8 cm)(d)|
|Primary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : African Art|
As part of the Kore initiation process of the Bamana Tribe, a boy is reborn into manhood. Initiates comprise different classes, each with their own symbols and masks, but they are never seen together. Masks, therefore, are strictly and uniquely associated with specific classes of initiates, distinguishing, for example the Surukuw (hyenas), the Jaraw (lions), and the Sulaw (monkeys, also known as Ngon or Sula masks).
As is detailed in scholarship on this famous style of masks, Suruku hyena masks all have the same characteristics. They are carved from wood of the kapokier, dogora or mpeku tree; they have a domed forehead and a stylized crest rising from between the ears that looks like a small horn. This small crest symbolizes the tuft of hair that is removed from the animal by a hunter right after the kill (considered a receptacle of dangerous vital energy known as nyama. The mask always has a long snout and the eyes are always circular or square holes through which the wearer is able to see.
Finally, the mask is “charged” with energy, receiving blood sacrifices and is ritually washed and often rubbed with a type of shea butter responsible for the luminosity of the mask. This mask has such a rich, deep, dark patina and a slight gloss to it from the applied oils and other materials.
Literature:“Bamana - The Art of Existence in Mali,” Colleyn, Jean Paul, pp 97-141“Bamana: Visions of Africa,” Colleyn, Jean-Paul“The Tribal Arts of Africa,” Bacquart, Jean-Baptiste“Spirits Speak: A Celebration of African Masks,” Stepan, Peter
|Provenance: Ex. Private American Collection, Ex. Private Swiss Collection (more information upon request)|
|Price:||Item has been sold.|
|Offered By:||Items for sale from dealers we worked with previously|
121 Mount Vernon, Boston, MA 02108 USA
Item has been sold.
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