Ci Wara. Bamana, Mali

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D:5" W:9" H:35"

In some Bamana areas, initiations are complete when the age-grade enters Ci Wara (pronounced chi waraI). Ci Wara prepares them for their future roles as husband and fathers by pairing them with younger girls who become their partners. It also focuses upon the agricultural skills they need to become successful farmers who can provide for their families and contribute to the community. In Bamana belief, the primordial being Ci Wara is a creature of the wild who taught mankind how to cultivate the fields. Ci is a term referring to farming, while Wara is a generic term for wild beast. During annual ceremonies, two members of the age-grade are chosen to dance as Ci Wara and his female consort. Ci Wara masks are crest masks or dance crests, for they sit on top of the dancer's head. Both the head and much of the body of the dancer are usually hidden by a costume. Ci Wara forms have become one of the world's most recognizable and more reproduced of all African art forms.

Item: D139

 

 

Source: Blackmun Visona, Poynor, Cole 2008