Bamana Chiwara Antelope Headdress
Culture: African, Malian, Bamana
Dimensions: Overall: 15 1/2 in. x 20 in. x 4 in. (39.4 x 50.8 x 10.2 cm)
base: 2 1/2 in. x 9 3/4 in. x 4 in. (6.4 x 24.8 x 10.2 cm)
Medium: wood, beads, fiber, metal
Credit Line: Purchased with funds provided by an anonymous donor
Label Text: This headdress combines the long, curved horns of an antelope with a small, humped body—probably that of an aardvark. Both are animals that dig or paw the earth. The carved headdress represents Chi Wara, a spirit that Mali’s Bamana people believe taught them to farm. Headdresses are worn by dancers in ceremonies to honor Chi Wara’s gifts to the Bamana.
American sculptor Chaim Gross (1904-1991) once owned this object. Like many modern artists, he greatly admired and was influenced by African art, which he avidly collected from the 1920s-1960s.
Object Number: 2009.94
Currently on view