Dance Headdress (Ci-wara Kun)
Arts of Africa
ART OF DOUBLES
Duality is present in art throughout the continent as an expression of essential concepts that drive human nature—from gender to humanity’s place in the cosmos. This pair of pairs illustrates some of the ways that artists have expressed these ideas.
Ere ibeji are carved by the Yoruba primarily as memorial figures for twins. Because twins are considered spiritually powerful beings, with power to provide considerable good or to inflict harm, ibeji figures are the focus of great personal interaction and care. Such figures are considered a point of access to the spirit of a departed twin, and an icon of status for a mother of twins.
Worn on the heads of male dancers, ci-wara headdresses are danced in male and female pairs to symbolize the fertility of land and animals. Each headdress represents an antelope, which for the Bamana is a metaphor for the successful farmer who tirelessly tills his fields.
late 19th-early 20th century
31 3/4 x 13 1/2 x 2 3/4 in. (80.6 x 34.3 x 7 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Gift of Rosemary and George Lois
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Bamana. Dance Headdress (Ci-wara Kun), late 19th-early 20th century. Wood, metal, 31 3/4 x 13 1/2 x 2 3/4 in. (80.6 x 34.3 x 7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Rosemary and George Lois, 77.245.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 77.245.1_77.245.2_PS1.jpg)
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Female: antelope headdress with long slender neck and carrying a fawn on her back. Ears are in shape of round disks with white metal rings inserted in each ear. Thin metal band with zigzag edge decorates her forehead and there is a small white metal disk inserted in proper left eye. Notched circular pattern decorates snout. Tall, thin vertical horns have incised decorative grooves. Edges of ears have decorative notched pattern. On top of female's back is the fawn. It has vertical horns that are bifurcated - bent at right angle - and with incised grooves. The ears are notched at edge and there are incised bands on forehead. It has a small sweeping mane with "V" shaped configurations on outer curve. Tail is pointed. Condition: excellent. Small area of pitting on proper left side of neck. Fawns snout tip worn, and small section of mane missing near torso. Right inlaid eye missing.
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