Headcrest, Chi Wara

11008098-1994_004_061_Cpa_ARC.tif

Title

Headcrest, Chi Wara

Keywords

Ceremonial costume, effigy, mask

Date

20th Century

Context

West Africa, Mali
Bamana, Beledougou region

Medium/Dimensions

Wood, string, hair, fibers, bronze
22 5/8 x 10 1/16 x 3 9/16 in. (57.5 x 25.5 x 9 cm)

Object Number

1994.004.061

Description

This headdress, worn by a masked performer with a fiber veil that covers the face, depicts a roan antelope (chiwara, or "farming animal") atop an aardvark. It is the male half of a male-female pair of headdresses that originates in the Beledougou region north of the River Niger in Mali. The combination of two animals, antelope above and aardvark below, is said to reflect the growth cycle of the Bamana groundnut (Voandzeia subterranea), the region's staple crop.

Like the peanut, which it closely resembles, the groundnut's leaves appear in the sun above ground but its fruit grows in the subterranean darkness of the soil below. In like fashion, the roan antelope is identified with the sun and also with farming through the myth that the antelope taught humans how to till the soil. The aardvark is a nocturnal animal famous as a digger and represents the abilities of the best groundnut farmers. This two-stage horticultural symbolism extends to the growth of children, since children in this region begin life with their father's kin but after learning to walk, spend the rest of childhood with the mother's family. Therefore the mask appears at both puberty celebrations and at harvest events to encourage contestants in digging competitions.

Credit Line

Ex coll. William S. Arnett

Exhibits/Publications

The Art of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, Michael C. Carlos Museum, November 8, 1997 - January 4, 1998|
MCCM Permanent Collection Gallery, 2008 - December 1, 2014

Rights

© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Michael McKelvey.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View

No

Citation

“Headcrest, Chi Wara,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 19, 2019, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7992.

Social Bookmarking

Embed

Copy the code below into your web page