Bambara Antelope

Africa | Mali

Bambara Antelope

Mali

Ci Wara headdress

Early 20th century
Carved wood and pigments
Height: 42.5 cm – 16 ¾ in.

Provenance
Ex collection Julius Carlebach, New York, 1952
Ex collection Jacques Germain, Canada

Published: FAB Paris, 2023
Bambara Ci Wara 42.5 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
According to local original myths, an ancestral spirit named Ci Wara, of divine nature and appearing in an animal form, imparted knowledge and introduced agriculture to the Bambara (Bamana) people. This type of headdress, called Ci Wara, was carved to commemorate this primordial ancestor. Taking on the stylized shape of an antelope, this type of crest also symbolically referred to other animals from the Bambara mythological repertoire associated with the earth.
Ci Wara dancers adorned themselves in dark fiber (raffia) costumes that covered their entire bodies, leaving only the crest visible. Their precisely choreographed movements evoked the graceful movements of an antelope. The whole ceremony was considered a metaphor for the convergence of elemental forces (sun, earth, and water).
Since the early 20th century, Ci Wara crests have served as inspiration for prominent European artists such as Ferdinand Léger who admired their geometric stylizations and fascinating negative spaces.

Video

Explore the entire collection
Africa
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Gabon
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Cameroon
Africa | Ivory Coast
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Mali
Africa | Mali
Africa | Cameroon
Africa | Mali
Africa | Burkina Faso
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Mali
Africa | Burkina Faso
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Gabon
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Ivory Coast
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Ivory Coast
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Gabon
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Gabon
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa | Nigeria
Africa | Sahara
Africa | Ghana
Discover our collections
CoLLECTIoNS
Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter