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Highlights: African Art

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Image of Crest Mask: Male Antelope (Chi Wara)

Bamana Peoples

Crest Mask: Male Antelope (Chi Wara)

20th century

Object Type: Sculpture
19 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 3 1/4 in. (49.53 x 13.97 x 8.26 cm)
Medium and Support: Wood
Accession Number: 2013.0017.0004

Credit Line: Gift of Dileep and Martha Mehta

The Bamana call upon a spirit being, Chi Wara, to assure fertile fields and bountiful harvests. Chi Wara is represented in agricultural rituals by a pair of headdresses that represent male and female antelopes. The female mask typically depicts an antelope with a baby on her back and the male mask has impressive, abstracted antelope horns.
The masks were tied on the crest of the head of a raffia-clad masquerader and danced in the presence of the men who cultivated the fields to prepare them for the millet crop. Drummers and young women accompanied the performance as a chorus.

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