John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

  • Music:

Art on Sunday: Crest Mask: Ciwara Kun or Sogoni Kun

Ciwara association, Bamana peoples, Bougouni or Diola region, Mali
Crest Mask: Ciwara Kun or Sogoni Kun, date unknown
Crest Mask: Ciwara Kun or Sogoni Kun
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, La.
Currently on loan to the National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C.

I can accept that this is a mask, but I have to admit I'm unclear on how you're supposed to wear it. And speaking of things about which I'm unclear, the NMAA has this to say about this piece:

As metaphors for the qualities intrinsic to successful farming, various animals possessing desired traits, and some associated with the origins of agriculture, combine to form a Bamana crest mask. The curled, humped figure at the mask's base represents the pangolin, which burrows into the earth; the mask's horns invoke the grace and strength of the roan antelope; and the chip-carved, triangular markings covering much of the surface are said to represent the skin of the anteater.

OK, for what intrinsic quality of successful farming is an anteater a metaphor? I'm stumped.


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