Collection of Drago Muvrin's African objects of art

Svira: --- 
Mask worn on the top of the head; Chi Wara
Inv. num. 48

v=59.5 cm

Purpose: ritual
Thematic classification: Art of Bambara people

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Stylised wooden mask worn on the top of the head representing an antelpe.

Chi wara is a mythical being represented by a figure of antelope who taught the Bambara people (Mali) how to grow grains.  Wooden masks representing the antelope are a part of the equipment of young dancers imitating alert motion of the antelope in agrarian rituals.  These rituals take place at the grain sawing time with the purpose of ensuring a high crop yield.  Masks are worn on the top of the head and are fixed with knitted caps.  Depending on the way they are made, the masks can be divided into horizontal, vertical and abstract.  The figurines can be either female or male.  The female figurines can be recognized by their straight horns and because they keep their young by their side. The male ones are recognized by bended horns and the male sexual organ.

Willett, Franck, 1997 African Art. Thames and Hudson, Singapore.