17" TALL , 27 " LONG THIS TRADITIONAL MASK IS IN EXCELLENT USED CONDITION.
GOOD PATINA AND AGE CRACKS
HARD HEAVY WOOD
COMPARE @ /BAMANA/BamanaChiWara/BamanaChiWaraAbstract/BamanaChiWaraAbstract.html
ESTIMATED AGE AT 50 + YEARS OLD
Tji Wara (Chi wara) - Tji Waras are "danced" twice a year, for the planting, and again after the harvest to honor the best farmer in the village. Sometimes the figure is above another animal, not always clearly definable as to species. The antelope represents the mythical character who taught the Bambara how to cultivate the land. The horn is a symbol of the millet's growth. For a fascinating discussion of Bamana sculptors, see Brett-Smith's THE MAKING OF BAMANA SCULPTURE-CREATIVITY AND GENDER, and superb examples in
BAMANA-THE ART OF EXISTENCE IN MALI, edited by Colleyn. The Chi Wara Society, is one of the most important Bamana secret societies. Dances are performed annually featuring both male and female antelope headdresses. Performed in the fields, the dances are to ensure a good harvest and, by extension, to guarantee the survival of the community. Chi Wara society is one of the few secret societies that admits women, although only initiated men are eligible to attain the higher levels, and only men may carve the dance masks. The inclusion of women stresses the underlying concept of Chi Wara: the continuity of the Bamana can only be assured through the union of man and woman (male: fire, sun) and (female: earth, water). The largest and most powerful tribe in the Western Sudan, the Bambara live in the open savanna to the southwest of the Dogon. Though they are Moslem, they maintain many of their ancient religious rites, which are principally concerned with agriculture and the fertility of the land. Among the best known of the Bambara associations is the tji wara . In the past the purpose of the Tji Wara association was to encourage cooperation among all members of the community to ensure a successful crop. In recent time, however, the Bambara concept of tji wara has become associated with the notion of good farmer, and the tji wara masqueraders are regarded as a farming beast. The Bambara sponsor farming contests w the tji wara masqueraders perform. Always performing together in a male and female pair, the coupling of the antelope masqueraders speaks of fertility and agricultural abundance. According to one interpretation, the male antelope represents the sun and the female the earth. The antelope imagery of the carved headdress was inspired by a Bambara myth that recounts the story of a mythical beast (half antelope and half human) who introduced agriculture to the Bambara people. The dance performed by the masqueraders mimes the movements of the antelope. This artifact presents a very unusual image of the tji wara From the artistic point of view the tji wara are probably the finest examples of stylized African art, for with a delicate play of line the sensitive carvings display the natural beauty of the living antelope. APPROXIMATE VALUE $ 900.00 +/-
SHIPPING $26.00 + USA
$42.00 INTERNATIONAL AIR MAIL
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