This imposing mask was made by the Malinke (or Maninka) people of West Africa.
The Malinke are distributed as a minority in Guinea, Mali, the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gambia, and smaller groups in Sierra Leone, B.Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Ghana. They are part of the Mande group, and stem from an 8th century AD entity known as the Malinke Empire, which was a very powerful trading body. Modern Malinke are agriculturists, and live in male- dominated, hierarchical societies. Despite their population size and wide distribution, their contribution to Africa’s artistic heritage is minimal, as they are predominantly Muslim and believe that representative arts fly in the face of Islamic convention.
This mask is therefore something of a rarity.
Ex Collection Jespers - Antwerp
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