Category:Chiwara masks

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A Chiwara is a ritual object representing an antelope, used by the Bambara ethnic group in Mali. The Chiwara initiation uses Chiwara masks, as well as dances and rituals associated primarily with agriculture, to teach young Bamana men social values as well as agricultural techniques.

The Chi Wara is always danced with each wooden figure attached to a basket on the dancer's head, and the body covered in a huge pile of raffia. Often the face is obscured with raffia and the dancer carries a long staff. The figures are always in one or more male/female pairs. The Male figures leap to represent the antalope, and then scratch the earth with their staves or horns as the Chiwara teaches humans to cultivate crops.