Bamana

Mali

Among the Bamana, oral traditions credit a mythical being named Ci Wara, a divine being half mortal and half antelope. Under Ci Wara’s guidance, humans first learned to cultivate land and became prosperous farmers. When humans gradually became careless and wasteful, Ci Wara is said to have buried himself in the earth. To honor Ci Wara’s memory, the Bamana created boli, a power object in which his spirit resides, carving the headdresses such as these to represent him. The elegant and tapered heads of the sculptures, along with the neck, ears, and horns are modelled on the antelope. The lower part refers to the aardvark. With finely incised geometric patterns, these headdresses characterize the interplay between positive and negative space.

H. 105 – W. 22 cm

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