The 1.9 to 2.5 million Bambara live in the region around Bamako, the capital of Mali. They form the largest ethnic group within the country. The Bambara live principally from agriculture, with some subsidiary cattle rearing in the north of their territory. The Bambara have a very complex cosmology. They believe in existence of spiritual forces, which are activated by individuals, who are capable to create an atmosphere of harmony. They excelled in three types of sculpture: stylized antelope headdresses, statues, and masks. This antelope mask is associated with the Kore men's secret society which organized young farmers. This society employs masks representing the hyena, lion, monkey, antelope, and horse. The mask functioned at agricultural activity such as supplication for rain. The Kore society seems to be disappearing in Bambara communities.
Provenance: Raskin Private Collection