Tall carved wooden headdress in the form of a stylized Antelope. From the Bambara / Bamana peoples of Mali, West Africa. This sculpture is actually a headdress worn atop the head on a basket and danced in agricultural festivals. Among the Bamana, oral traditions credit a mythical being named ChiWara, a divine being half mortal and half animal, with the introduction of agriculture to the Bamana. Bamana society is primarily an agricultural one; even today the majority of Bamana peoples are subsistence farmers. These headdresses, also called ci wara, are carved to honor that original mythical being. Under Chi Wara's guidance, humans first learned to cultivate the land and became prosperous and able farmers. When humans gradually became careless and wasteful, however, Chi Wara is said to have buried himself in the earth. To honor Chi Wara's memory, the Bamana created carved headdresses such as these to represent him. Chi wara headdresses combine antelope features with those of other animals that are significant within Bamana culture, such as the earth-digging aardvark or the armored pangolin. The animals are observed in nature to excel in actions that are also critical to the success of the farming effort and, therefore, Bamana life. This example measures 30 inches tall. There appears to be restoration to the very tips of the horns.