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Bamana (Bambara) people Bamako region, Mali
Chi wara (Tyi wara) dance crest ?1930s, possibly older Description: antelope headdress, with string, metal collar and studs
Place made: Mali
Materials & Technique: sculptures, costumes, wood, sheet metal, metal nails carving, metal-working
Primary Insc: sticker on base: "Seven Santini BNros. 22"
Dimensions: 75.8 h x 43.5 w x 15.5 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1974
Accession No: NGA 74.238
Subject: African art
  • Gaston de Havenon, New York

These wooden headdresses come from Mali in western Africa. Can you guess what animal they represent? The Chiwara is half human, half antelope and teaches people about agriculture. People from Mali dress as the Chiwara, dancing and performing rituals associated with crops and farming. These headdresses are tied to a basket on the dancer’s head, and the dancer’s face and body are covered with long grass. They become the Chiwara.

Activity: Make a mask using an old box, string and tissue paper.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra