Antelope Headdress (Chi Wara)

This headdress represents a divine being called Chi Wara (sometimes spelled Tyi Wara) who was the first farmer, and taught the Bamana people how to farm. A supernatural being from the wilderness, Chi Wara is part antelope and part anteater. Both Bamana boys and girls go through several levels of initiation to learn how to […]

Married Woman’s Skirt (bogolanfini cloth of mari or mari nonkoman type)

Bogolanfini (mud cloth) is dyed by a complicated process involving several steps. The dye is made from a mud paste rich in iron. The geometric patterns are highly symbolic. The term mari means “crocodile,” and nonkoman means “with elbows.” The crocodile is considered sacred among the Bamana and is believed to provide children, prosperity, and […]