BAMBARA MASK OF A MONKEY-MALI
Monkey facemask in finely carved wood with a dark brown patina. The nose is prominent, as on most masks from the Bambaras. Legend says that this mask represented the transformation of a blacksmith ancestor who was transformed in a monkey after a prohibited sexual encounter. Original patina and traces of ritual use. Hatchet marks on the back. The mask still has 7 charms and 5 rings in brown iron on the top.
Bambara, Tenglela region - Mali. The Ban-mâna, from “Ban” – refusal and “mâne” – master, in other words people that refuse to be dominated, are more well known as the Bambara, a name given to them by the Europeans. It is the dominant ethnic group in Mali. The village wise man were called Korés, and to reach this level the members of this society had to go through a symbolic death and resurrection. The initiation ceremony includes of eight groups of animals. The monkey is emblematic of the highest and most important class of the Koré society.