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Three masked performers, one wearing male horizontal Chi wara headdress, the two others wearing double-headed horizontal Chi wara headdresses, both referred to as n'gonzon koun, Bamako (national district), Mali. slide

Three masked performers, one wearing male horizontal Chi wara headdress, the two others wearing double-headed horizontal Chi wara headdresses, both referred to as n
Usage Conditions Apply
photographer
Elisofon, Eliot
Date
1970
Type
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 elisofonarchives@si.edu
Local number
E 1 BMB 13 EE 70
EEPA EECL 3382
Culture
Bamana (African people)
Notes
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.
Organization
Image indexed by negative number
Summary
"Headdresses of this kind are distinctive for their formal qualities as well as for their idiosyncratic construction. All other related Bamana sculptural genres are monoxylic (carved from a single piece of wood), but these works are invariably carved as two separate units - the head and the body - which are subsequently joined together at the neck either with iron staples, U-shaped nails, or metal or leather collars attached with nails. The especially complex, tiered horizontal headdress is exceptional for its expression of pentup corporeal power. It gives compelling evidence that horizontal headdress were not modeled on a single animal found in nature but rather represent an abstract force expressed through an amalgam of zoomorphic features. Here the animal in the lower half, which appears to be an aardvark, is more fully realized than in others because of the inclusion of its head. It is possible this work was commissioned by a voluntary communal labor association known as gonzon. Gonzon owned headdresses called n'gonzon koun, or 'anteater head,' which were sculpturally identical to those used by the ci wara association of the same community. They were not danced in the field, however, as were ci wara headdresses, but rather in the village on occasions when the gonzon performed charitable farmwork." [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 traveled to Africa from March 17, 1970 to July 17, 1970.
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
Place
Africa
Mali