Antelope dance crest Chiwara / tjiwara, Bamana, Mali.

The name “chiwara” means “laboring wild animal” and refers to a half-man, half antelope that was born of Mousso Koroni (a sky goddess) and an earth spirit in the form of a cobra. Chiwara then taught the Bamana how to farm, and is worshipped accordingly. The headcrests are designed to represent the roan antelope, in varying degrees of abstraction.

The headdress was originally attached to a basketware base, and worn with a raffia costume and danced in order to pray for a bountiful harvest.

Wood, blackish brown patina, metal sheet cuff to hold the head on body that are cut in two pieces of wood, silver metal eyes, horizontal (female) type, with bent legs rising from a rectangular base with four holes for affixation, the body and head decorated with incised ornaments, a long columnar neck with supporting a horizontal head with an open mouth, and long pointed backswept ears and horns with upcurved tips, min. dam., signs of abrasion, missing parts (horns), damage/ restoration on the left ear, on MDF base; The "tjiwara" is mostly carved of wood from the "dondol" tree ("bombax cornui"). L: 49,5 cm; 19.5 inch. 

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