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Antelope Headdress (Ci Wara or Sogoni Kun)

For Westerners, antelope headdresses from the Bamana, the largest ethnic group in Mali, have become icons of African art. This antelope was undoubtedly sculpted by a man from a Bamana blacksmith clan, for, in addition to working iron, smiths are the traditional woodcarvers. As an apprentice, a boy learns to carve wood before he is taught to forge iron, first mastering the carving of knife and hoe handles and then moving on to more complicated creations. A man who shows great skill, such as the carver of this headdress, will earn a reputation that can draw clients from many miles.

Bamana peoples, Mali
Antelope Headdress (Ci Wara or Sogoni Kun)
Early 20th century (?)
Wood
H. 20 in. (50.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 87.24.3