The 400,000 Marka live principally from agriculture with some subsidiary cattle. The Marka are famous for their masks and puppets. Similar to Bambara's Ntomo society masks, Marka masks are often carved with horns, comb or crest on top of the head. The image of antelope head is a very often used motif in the Marka masks, as according to their mythology, it taught men how to farm. The masks of this type were used in two rituals, during the circumcision ceremony of adolescents, and when circumcised men advanced from one grade to another. Along the Niger River the Marka use the masks in ceremonies related to fishing and farming. The Marka dress their masks in gaily-colored costumes made of cloth; they often appear in pair, to represent man's courting of woman. This unusually shaped mask may be considered rare. This mask is decorated with tassels and cowries as well as indentations in the wooden surface reminiscent of scarification.
Provenance: Raskin Private Collection
Museum quality metal stand created specifically for this mask is available for $220 + shipping