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Ciwara Bambara Female Antelope Headdress
An Artist’s Collection VOL.1
Mali, West Africa
Early 20th century,
20th century, wood, tacks, metal
28.5 x 12” x 2
lot 375 Sotheby’s New York, 1997
Additional photos available upon request
The Ciwara represents the spirit that taught humans the fundamentals of agriculture. The Bambara honour Chiwara though art and dance. The dancers, wearing either male or female represented headdresses, leap and turn, moving their heads and feet like the antelope, their movements grounded in hundreds of years of tradition. The dance, which suggests fertility, reproduction, propitiation of the spirits and ancestors, and gratitude to Chiwara, carries with it moral lessons and religious symbolism.