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Masked performers wearing pair of male and female Chi wara headdresses, Bamako (national district), Mali

Catalog Data

Elisofon, Eliot  Search this
Collection Photographer:
Elisofon, Eliot  Search this
1 Slide (col.)
Bamana (African people)  Search this
Archival materials
Color slides
Scope and Contents:
"In Antilopes du soleil, his 1980 survey of ci wara, Dominique Zahan classifies this corpus of works in group I, which comprises pairs that overtly emphasize the differentiation of the male and female forms. Zahan notes that the social distinctions between men and women that suffuse Bamana society are referenced in the antelope sculptures through sexual attibutes: the male's penis and the infant carried by the female. Female ci wara headdress are also generally smaller than the males. The fawn depicted on her back is invariably a miniature representation of either the adult male or female. The fundamental differences underlying the designs of the male and female headdresses in this style derive from the fact that they are modeled on different species of animal. The head, neck, ears, and horns of the male form draw upon features of the roan antelope, known as dage, and its lower part refers to the aardvark. The female form is inspired by the oryx antelope." [La Gamma A., 2002: Genesis: Ideas of Origin in African Sculpture. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Yale University Press, New Haven and London]. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for Westinghouse Film and traveled to Africa from October 26, 1970 to end of March 1971.
Local Numbers:
E 1 BMB 4.1 EE 71
Citation source: Archives staff.
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.
Exhibitions Note:
Contexual image in "African Masks from the Noel Collection" held by the Tubman African American Museum in Macon, Georgia, 2003. LL03-0069
Local Note:
Frame value is 32.
Slide No. E 1 BMB 4.1 EE 71
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original records requires an appointment. Contact Archives staff for more details.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce images from the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Rites and ceremonies -- Africa  Search this
Dance  Search this
Masquerades  Search this
Masks  Search this
Wood-carving  Search this
Animals in art  Search this
Animals in art -- antelopes  Search this
Animals in art -- Composite animals  Search this
Headdresses -- headgear -- Africa  Search this
Color slides
Collection Citation:
Eliot Elisofon Field Collection, EEPA 1973-001, Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution
EEPA.1973-001, Item EEPA EECL 3367
See more items in:
Eliot Elisofon Field collection
Archival Repository:
Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art