Marka Masks and Their Unique History



Marka mask from Mali – Masks of the World

The Marka people, also known as the Warka, belong to the Soninke people whose settlements date back as far as 750 AD in Ghana. Conflicts with the Berbers compelled the Soninke to disperse into neighboring regions. The Marka people now occupy the northern part of Mali or Guinea. Marka ceremonial masks are generally characterized by elongated faces, long angular noses, and metal plaque work. Masks are carefully etched with hundreds of precise circular markings. The Marka used these masks for circumcision ceremonies and when circumcised men advanced up the social ladder. They were also used in fishing and farming related ceremonies. Artists, the most famous being Picasso, have used Marka masks impressions in their abstract works. 

Learn more about these masks or to order your own online.

Find out more about African artwork and history on the Africa Imports web site.