- Museum number
Wood carved mask shaped like a human face with horns and antelope; used by the N'Tomo society.
- Production date
Height: 56 centimetres
Width: 20 centimetres
Depth: 20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Description from William Fagg, ‘The Webster Plass collection of African Art, an illustrated catalogue’, British Museum 1953, cat.6.
Wooden Bambara dance mask of hardwood painted black, with stylized and striated human face surmounted by the carved head and forepart of an antelope, behind which is a comb-like projection with six teeth. It is carved in the style of the Segu district. According to Kjersmeier, such masks are for the dances of the young men’s society, N’tomo.
N'tomo masks appear as a human face with four to ten projections which, regardless of their actual number, are said to represent the eight primordial seeds made by God to create the universe. The specific number of spikes or horns indicates whether the mask is masculine, feminine or androgynous: in Bamana numerology, multiples of three indicate masculinity, four and eight indicate femininity and two, five and seven are associated with androgyny. Thus, this mask is feminine.
H.M. Cole (ed.), I am not myself: the art of ma, Los Angeles monograph series, no. 26 (Museum of Cultural History, University of California, 1985)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2019 21 Sep-17 Nov Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum, Dorchester, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
2019 8 Jun-31 Aug Norfolk & Norwich Millennium Library, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
2019 15 Mar-26 May, Bolton Museum, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
2018-2019 14 Dec-3 Mar, National Justice Museum, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
2018 25 Sep– 2 Dec, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number