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Ciwara Crest, Bamana Mali Wood, metal L. 69 cm Ciwara...

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Ciwara Crest, Bamana Mali Wood, metal L. 69 cm Ciwara headdress, Bamana, Mali L . 27 ¼ in Bamana country stretches along the banks of the Niger River, to the west and south of present-day Mali. Ciwara crests were intended to celebrate agrarian rites. Mounted on wickerwork bonnets, they featured highly stylized antelopes. Worn by members of the secret Ciwara society, they evoked the mythical union of the sun (masculine principle) and the earth (feminine principle). This is why these crests were usually danced in pairs. These dances took place in broad daylight, both in the fields and in the villages. An ode to fertility and fecundity, they also rewarded hard work. A marvellous combination of stylized forms and pure volumes, this Bamana work is distinguished by the elegance of its composition. The antelope, whose features are skilfully idealized, is adorned with long horns that stretch horizontally following the movement of the ears. The dynamic body is adorned with a native restoration on the back.

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