Bamana Tji Wara Headdress, Late 19th-early 20th century. Mali, Koutiala region
Height: 17 inches (43.3 cm)
Ex collection Gaston de Havenon, 1968
Ex private collection, USA
Ex collection S. Thomas Alexander III, St. Louis
Ex collection Drs. Jean & Noble Endicott, purchased from above in 1978 (inv.1978-3)
Warren M. Robbins, Gaston T. de Havenon, Museum of African Art, Washington DC. African Art: The de Havenon Collection. Washington DC: Museum of African Art, 1971. Cat. 60
Jean-Paul Colleyn, ed. Bamana: The Art of Existence in Mali. New York, Gent, Zürich: Museum for African Art, Snoeck-Ducaju and Zoon, Museum Rietberg, 2001. Cat. 202, p. 218
Found widely throughout Mali, tji wara is a wooden headdress based on an animal motif, the antelope or the oryx. Tji wara are danced in couples, male and female, at agricultural contests and rituals celebrating the mythical animal that originally taught man the art of agriculture.
The dance evoked the stride of the antelope moving with rapid action of the hooves and gazing in the distance. Tji waras are known in a variety of styles depending on the geographic region in which they are carved.
Tji waras carved in a zig zag style are extremely rare.
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