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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Marka : Marka Wooden Face Mask Covered with Brass Sheets
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Marka Wooden Face Mask Covered with Brass Sheets - PF.3050
Origin: Mali/Burkina Faso
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 15.5" (39.4cm) high x 6" (15.2cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood and Brass

Location: United States
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Ancient Africa's view of the universe was an all- embracing and religious one. Acts of creation, like this ceremonial mask, were carried out with a reason, an intention or appropriate ritual preparation. In traditional Africa there was no division between the sacred and the profane, as there is in our modern society. Everything was interconnected, because everything was imbued with a profound feeling of the Unity of Life. The artist who created this exquisite mask played a specific role in the community. The arts were not considered to be merely utilitarian or aesthetic. They were functions with religious significance. The remarkable beauty of this piece lies in the elongated purity of form which is typical of the Marka style. The facial features are perfectly set within the extended cheekbones and conical chin. The oval shape of the top of the head recalls the shape of an egg and is set off by six individual horn-like structures with an abstract figure of a stretched out body with torso and legs running down the middle. The mask was first carved in hard wood and then covered with repousse brass plating. The artist seems to have taken special delight in the juxtaposition of numerous textured patterns and in the use of dot motifs to delineate the edges of the various parts of the face. The eyebrows and lips are highlighted in blue. There are two ornamental pieces on either side of the face which harmonize with the length of the nose. The nose also has an ornamental piece on top of it. All the ornamental pieces "rattle" when the mask is moved. All these elements consummate into a masterpiece of art...and the representation of the unity of all things within the African sacred universe where everything was mutually dependent. - (PF.3050)


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