African Mali N'tomo Bambara 5 Spike Androgynous Wood Carved Mask. African Mali Malinke (20th Century) boys society ceremonial circumcision initiation mask depicting Bambara constructed of carved wood with applied brass embellishments, pierced ears, cowry shells and 6 vertical spikes. Bamana N'tomo (N'Domo) masks are used to protect young boys during their first initiation cycle before circumcision. The number of horns make reference to specific characteristics of males (three or six horns) or females (four or eight horns) and the androgynous (two, five or seven). This mask has six horns, which means it is a male. Other features have also been symbolically interpreted: the small mouth indicates the value of silence or of thinking before speaking; the long nose expresses the metaphorical capacity to smell the good and bad qualities in people. And the antelope incarnates all the qualities associated to the Chi-Wara headcrest. N'Tomo masks never speak demonstrating their power to protect the young boys by its presence. It would be danced by mature men to protect the boys and it would also be worn by the boys as they would dance and test one another. Keywords: African, Tribal, Art; Ref: DD4046
Dimensions: 22in x 8in
Artist Name: African
Condition: This piece is in good condition, with minimal signs of wear commensurate with age. Please see photos for details.
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