Description & Technical information

Ci-Wara crests form one of the most famous categories of masks in African art. This piece represents a female antelope, who would take part with her masculine counterpart in a codified dance on diverse occasions: agricultural festivals, secular events and annual ceremonies organized around the lunar calendar. Originally fixed to a wicker headpiece, the crest is of the vertical variety; quite narrow with tall projecting horns. It could come from Segou (at the east of the Bamana region) or more probably from Sikasso (in the south). In this area, young Ci-Wara girls could form a group of about ten antelopes and take part in the initiation of young boys. The stylised form is a perfect example of the skill of Bamana sculptors and the refinement of the animal-based art they developed around their mythology

Origin:  Mali
Medium: Wood, Pearl, Cotton thread
Dimensions: 73 cm (28³/₄ inches)
Provenance: Jef Vanderstraete, Lasne; Jean-Paul and Madeleine Edmonds-Alt collection, Brussels
Categories: Tribal Art