Mask of the Ntomo society, Bamana people,... - Lot 36 - Binoche et Giquello

Lot 36
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Estimation :
40000 - 60000 EUR
Mask of the Ntomo society, Bamana people,... - Lot 36 - Binoche et Giquello
Mask of the Ntomo society, Bamana people, Mali
Wood with a beautiful black patina, wax.
H. 37 cm
Ntomo mask, Bamana, Mali
H. 141/2 in
- Emil Storrer, Zürich
- Private collection
The Bamana were a group of initiation societies that organised rites of passage for the different age groups, which explains their fundamental importance in social and religious matters. In spite of the fact that Islam was established in the region at an early age, they retained their customs and masks for a long time.
The Ntomo was responsible for the education of young men up to the age of 13 at the time of the circumcision ceremonies. It is the best known of the Bambara initiatory societies and the beauty of its masks, which were the subject of an indigenous aesthetic judgement, gives it a special notoriety in the world of lovers of traditional African arts.
The face of our mask is profiled as a contemporary design object and simply defined in three verticals and two squares for the eyes. The beautifully curved forehead is crowned with seven horns, indicating an androgynous nature. The whole is adorned with wax bands, once adorned with seeds and cowries, and covered with a deep black patina, a sign of its great antiquity. The absence of a mouth recalls the first teachings of the Ntomo society: the virtues of silence and the perfect control of speech. One of the major initiatory chants teaches that a mouth that is too free becomes the mouth of the enemy.
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