, Chi wara (Tyi wara) dance crest Enlarge 1 /4
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Bamana (Bambara) people south-west uplands, Mali
Chi wara (Tyi wara) dance crest late 19th - early 20th century Description: antelope headdress, with brass overlay and brass tacks
Place made: Mali
Materials & Technique: sculptures, costumes, wood, brass upholstery nails, hammered brass overlay, metal nails carving, hammering metal
Primary Insc: "Seven Santini Bros 6" "L71 - 13" ?"18"
Dimensions: 74.0 h x 8.7 w x 17.2 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1974
Accession No: NGA 74.239
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