103
103

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Bamana Mask, Mali
Estimate
15,00025,000
LOT SOLD. 15,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
103

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Bamana Mask, Mali
Estimate
15,00025,000
LOT SOLD. 15,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

|
New York

Bamana Mask, Mali

Provenance

Christophe Tzara, Paris
Sotheby's, London, July 8, 1969, lot 162, consigned by the above
Egon Guenther, Johannesburg, acquired at the above auction
Sotheby's, New York, African Art from the Egon Guenther Family Collection, November 18, 2000, lot 16
Private Collection, acquired at the above auction

Catalogue Note

The visceral energy that emanates from this Bamana mask is befitting of its provenance, which includes Christophe Tzara, son of one of the founders of the Dada movement, Tristan Tzara. Nihilist in nature, the Zurich-based artist was notorious for his fiery shows and performances at Cabaret Voltaire. Both father and son were collectors of African art, and the powerful legacies of that lineage and of the Dada movement reflect the form and process that define this mask.

Bamana societies divide themselves into a number of power institutions, also known as initiation associations or secret societies, which each have distinct representations of their ritual masks. Colleyn elaborates on the iconography of kono masks such as the present lot: '[the masks] are of mythical nature, borrowing their characteristics from the hyena, the lion, and the elephant, but also from various species of antelopes and birds. Their major quality is polymorphism, and this is the reason why they cannot be portrayed as clear-cut characters.' (Colleyn, Bamana: The Art of Existence in Mali, 2002, p. 186). The encrusted, aged patina that coats the surface is the dried remains of organic and inorganic matter that was slathered onto the mask, the exact ingredients of which are known only to the creators. In ceremonies, dancers wore masks such as this one and were said to become possessed by cult spirits and deities, through which they communicated with other ritual participants.

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

|
New York