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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Female Farming Animal headdress (Ci Wara)

Photo: Paul Macapia

Female Farming Animal headdress (Ci Wara)

A fusion of two animals-an antelope and aardvark-is achieved in this tribute to a mythical culture hero. Alert and agile, both the mother and her baby seem ready to leap with energy as they hold erect their strong spiraling horns and ears. Their bodies and snouts are modeled after an aardvark, whose ability to dig rapidly into the ground and create subterranean tunnels is admired by Bamana farmers.

A female chorus of togo-fu (praise singers) dance behind Tyi Wara masqueraders to encourage their performance. One song from such a performance tells of the Bamana myth of primordial times: A water spirit, Faro, in the shape of the Tyi Wara, appears before the future king of the Segou kingdom and leads him to a watery domain and there shows him a piece of gold, a piece of silver, and a pile of grain saying, "Choose: gold and silver, they are wealth; seeds, they are power."
Wood, brass, wool
34 1/2 x 3 15/16 x 10 1/16 in. (87.6 x 10 x 25.6 cm)
Gift of Katherine White and the Boeing Company
Photo: Paul Macapia
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistoryNew York, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Genesis: Origins in African Sculpture, October 20, 2002 - July 4, 2003

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum. "Art from Africa: Long Steps Never Broke a Back," February 7, 2002-April 30, 2006 (2/7 - 4/30/2006)

Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Museum of Art, "African Tribal Images: the Katherine White Reswick Collection", July 10-September 1, 1968; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The University of Pennsylvania, October 10-December 1, 1968, (7/10 - 12/1/1968)
Los Angeles, California, Frederick S Wight Gallery, University of California, "African Art In Motion", January 20-March 17, 1974; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., April 21-July 30, 1974. (1/20 - 7/30/1974)

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Selections From the Katherine White Collection".

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Praise Poems: The Katherine White Collection", July 29-September 29, 1984; Washington, D.C., National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, , October 31, 1984-February 25, 1985; Raleigh, North Carolina, April 6-May 19, 1985; Fort Worth, Texas, The Kimbell Art Museum, September 7-November 25, 1985; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, March 8-April 20, 1986. (07/29/1984 - 04/20/1986)
Published ReferencesMcClusky, Pamela. African Art: From Crocodiles to Convertibles in the Collection of the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1987, illus. p. 3

McClusky, Pamela, Art from Africa: Long Steps Never Broke A Back, Seattle Art Museum, 2002, pg. 52

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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