Chi Wara, Antelope Headdress, Male, Bambara, Mali
H: 56 cm (22″), W: 19 cm (7,5″)
Provenance: Old Danish collection
Bambara carvers have established a reputation for the zoomorphic headdresses worn by
Tji-Wara society members. Although they are all different, they often incorporating a
zig-zag motif, which represents the sun’s course from east to west, and a head with two
large horns. Bambara members of the Tji-Wara society wear the headdress while dancing
in their fields at sowing time, hoping to increase the crop yield. A prosperity/fertility symbol.
Chi Wara legend
According to Bamana popular folklore the Chi Wara is a mythological hero. He came down from heaven to teach people managing agricultural life. In this way he ensured the survival of humanity. According to the legend the Chi Wara is a half antelope, half human. Dances performed in honour of the Chi Wara was originally a religious ceremony. Today the Chi Wara´s are carried to obtain a good harvest.