The Marka of Mali fashion their masks with very small mouths with raised lips at the bottom of an elongated face. The nose is usually extremely long and elegantly thin; the eyes are cast downward-a show of respect used in many African mask designs. Marka masks are distinctive due to the use of bronze, copper or tin sheeting affixed to the carved wooden sculpture with small tacks or brads. The intricate detail of the metal is reminiscent of ritual scarification of the Marka huntsman.
The antelope is a form used extensively in Marka masks, as seen here. The antelope is revered in Marka culture as a symbol of speed and endurance-attributes every Marka hunter seeks to obtain. Some masks blend human faces with antelope features, usually portraying a human face with antelope horns, as this mask demonstrates. This combination of features is thought to help the wearer acquire the desired attributes of the animal.
The beauty and presence of this mask will astound you.