chi-wara (Headdress)

About this object

History of use

Chi Wara (or Tyi Wara, etc.) headdresses are made to be danced as a pair (male and female) at harvest festivals to honour Chi Wara, a half human half antelope mythical being who taught agriculture to the ancestors of the Bamana people. The headdresses embody the ingredients necessary for successful cultivation, their long horns representing the tall growth of millet. The headdress is attached to a wicker cap, which is strapped around the chin of a dancer.

Physical description

Antelope headdress carved from wood. The figure has long curving horns incised with lines, an elongated and pointed stylized head incised with bands of linear pattern, the body is formed by concentric arches, the tail is short and pointed, and the legs are simplified and disproportionately small. The figure stands on a rectangular base.