With distinctive and elegant proportions, the mythical female zoomorph shown carrying a young antelope on her back. These elaborate head crests were attached to a woven fiber cap and danced as mated pairs. They helped glorify agricultural work, and praised the duality of the sexes.
The African scholar, James Brink aptly wrote of these masks ("For Spirits and Kings: African art from the Paul and Ruth Tishman Collection" 1981),
"The organization of the Ci-wara performance is based on the Bamana respect for the power and efficiency of the union of male and female. As human reproduction is the result of the sexual union between man and woman, so agricultural fertility is attributed to the union between fire (the sun), an expression of the male principle, and earth and water, an expression of the female principle."
This old example retains the cut brass sheet adornments and red textile attachments. Aluminum rings further decorate the horns and eyes of the adult female. Several village repairs on the horns of both animals, neck of calf. A varied and slightly encrusted, dark brown patina overall. Early 20th century. 25.25"H, excluding custom steel mount. From the Segou region of Bamana territory, Mali, West Africa. Provenance: Dave De Roche Gallery, San Francisco, CA late 1980's.