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

Masked performers wearing pair of male and female Chi wara headdresses, Bamako (national district), Mali. [slide]
Usage Conditions Apply
Elisofon, Eliot
Color slides
Physical Description
slide : col
Restrictions & Rights
Permission to reproduce images from Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. For information on photo services and research appointments, please visit or contact Archives staff at
Local number
E 1 BMB 5 EE 71
Bamana (African people)
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.
Image indexed by negative number
"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.
Cite as
Bamana chi wara (antelope) headdress near Bamako, Mali. Photograph by Eliot Elisofon, 1971. Image no. EEPA EECL 3368. Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives. National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution
Repository Loc.
Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African Art, Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, 950 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20560-0708
Data Source
Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
See more items in
Eliot Elisofon Field photographs 1942-1972