Photographs © Tim Hamill
BAMANA, Iron ChiWara 6, 12.5", $150, SOLD
These forged iron Chiwaras (antelope figures) exhibit the technical skill and artistry that Bamana blacksmiths brought to their work. They would do the smelting to get the iron from iron ore, then heat and hammer out both the tools and weapons used and the important ritual objects.
They are better known for their wood Chiwara headdresses. These headdresses represented the mythological half man / half antelope hero who taught man how to cultivate the soil. They were danced in pairs and celebrate the union of male (sun), female (earth) and fibre costume (rain), signifying the cooperation needed for a successful harvest and community survival.
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