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    Description

    Marka (Mali, Western Africa)
    Face masks (pair)
    Wood and metal
    Height: 12 inches (largest)

    The Marka people share a similar aesthetic to their neighbors, the Bamana, with an elongated face, rounded forehead, and pointed chin. Unlike many other West African masking societies, the Marka embellish their wooden masks with elaborately embossed sheets of metal. Most Marka masks also have horns projecting from the forehead giving the human face supernatural qualities associated with the spirit world inhabiting the bush. Masks like these were used during initiation ceremonies and to encourage prosperous harvests. Although collected and displayed together, there is no tradition among the Marka that would suggest that they form an actual pair. However, the two masks together make a powerful statement as objects of art. It is often the case with African art that the ravages of time and nature result in an appearance which is very pleasing to the eye, much as a piece of driftwood might hold more visual appeal than the same branch in its original state.

    Both of these masks have been used for many years, and reveal extensive wear and tear. The upper foreheads of the masks have been entirely lost and the backs have been heavily distressed. The areas not covered by metal are highly worn. The similarity in the erosion of the wood on both masks suggests the possibility that they might have been discarded together after years of use, somewhere where they were exposed to a great deal of moisture.

    Please Note: This lot will be accompanied by a Letter of Expertise (pictured below) from Michael Kan, former curator of the African Art Collection at the Detroit Museum of Art.


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2014
    16th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 953

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