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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Marka : Marka Wooden Mask Plaited with Brass Sheets
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Marka Wooden Mask Plaited with Brass Sheets - PF.4409
Origin: Central Mali
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 19" (48.3cm) high x 8.5" (21.6cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Marka
Medium: Wood, Brass, Cloth

Additional Information: Height Does Not Include the Cloth
Location: United States
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An African mask occupies a unique position in being part of the material world and the supernatural. The people of a village may regard a mask as having been given to them by a mythical being; either a divinity, primordial ancestor or a hero. Such otherworldly figures were a real part of everyday life and artists, like sorcerers, were often mediums of communication between them. In the creation of a mask the sculptor may collaborate with a superhuman being who reveals the design in a dream; a prototype image which the artist would later carve. This rapport was important, for it was to these spirits the people appealed in ceremonies where the mask was used.

Often masks were given animal features, as in this example, adorned with horns of an antelope. The elongated face does bear certain zoomorphic qualities; yet the impression is very much of a warrior; with its powerfully set eyes and shiny skin of brass. The hair is very carefully incised with fine lines. The upper portion has an woven cord of red and brown cloth, to which is attached a flowing strip of blue linen. When held high the overall effect of this mask is breathtaking.
- (PF.4409)


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