Chi Wara

nik-0106-14b_chiwara_v_ nik-0106-14b_chiwara_h_ nik-0106-14b_chiwara_34p1_ nik-0106-14b_chiwara_34p_

NIK 0106-14b

Chi Wara, Bambara, Mali

H: 40 cm (15,7″), W: 59 cm (23,2″)

This Chiwara Kun dance-crest is of unusual form, the classical antelope body presenting a second head with human features appearing from the middle of the throat, yet complementing and indeed balancing the composition as a whole. Native restorations in leather and iron.

A Bamana age-grade that followed Ntomo, Tyi Wara prepared young men for their role as family provider and needed agricultural skills. According to Bamana myth, Chiwara (Tyi Wara), a half man and half animal supernatural, first taught how to cultivate the fields. This example is in the horizontal style more characteristic of examples deriving from North of the Niger River in Mali. Particularly fascinating in this example is the balanced coexistence of the horizontal and vertical axes; the sweeping horns thrust back while the antelope head juts upward. The composition is balanced due to the human head emerging laterally from the neck of the antelope, at the same time further depicting the human/antelope nature of the mythical hero.

Age: Estimate to be about 50-60 year.

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