By continuing your visit to this site , you accept the use of cookies to provide content and services best suited to your interests.


Art Gallery the Eye and the Hand


African chimeras

Masks, headdresses Ciwara are among the better known pieces of African art. Incomparable masterpieces cultures Bamana (Mali) and Senufo (Mali, Côte d'Ivoire), enigmatic and emblematic symbols of African art, clichés abound when talking about these famous head crests. There are few so-called traditional African sculptures which have aroused so much admiration from fans and collectors. This catalog is intended to fill this gap and provide a scientific focus on the subject. He cites the permeability of borders and artistic use of such objects do not come out only during agricultural rites but on several occasions during the year (entertainment, important ceremonies such as funerals, fight against bites snake, ...). It also highlights the richness of the museum, unique in international collections, with his fifty-five masks reproduced at the end of the book.

96 pages format 20 x 26 cm

70 illustrations and 55 photos to the catalog raisonné


retail price: 25 €

isbn 2-915133-15-8 / 88-7439-318-0

Co-published Branly / 5 Continents

Lorenz Homberger, Deputy Director of the Museum Rietberg, Zurich

Jean-Paul Colleyn, study director at the EHESS and Aurélien Gaborit, responsible for Africa collections, the Musée du Quai Branly

contemporary photographs of Catherine De Clippel

Ciwara, African chimeras
June 23 to December 17, 2006

Ciwara masks headdresses are emblematic of the art of West Africa, particularly representative of the taste of collectors of "primitive" art of the twentieth century.
Numerous copies are ciwara since then in public and private collections around the world.
This exhibition shows the appearance of traditional Bamana society, mainly from Mali, while focusing on the aesthetics of these antelope headdresses carved, etched, patinated, painted with stylized shapes and materials vary by region and changing times.
Dances ciwara society are related to agricultural rites and therefore the idea of fertility, fertility, seeding. Striving to master the elements of nature - that mimic the contortions of antelope masks during ceremonies - men seek to make animal allies.
According to the villages, these masks usually come in pairs, may have a different use. But in all cases, they are objects for unifying and protecting the community, especially since they can be seen by all, not being reserved only for insiders.
Widespread in Mali, the cult ciwara suffered a gradual decline.
the route of exposure

The exhibition presents four regional groupings conform to the different styles of headdresses:
1 - The style of the region Bougouni

Masks of this area have several animal motifs combined on the same piece. According to the Bamana myth, they date back to ancient times and would be an attribute of a frenzied dance of antelope that would have offered the men their first crop.
2 - The style of the region of Bamako

In the area of influence of Bamako and north of the Niger River, the structure of the crest is marked by the horizontality of antelope horns, a symbol of the thrust of millet growing in width and its mouth is open, revealing language.
3 - The style of the region of Segou

Antelopes attached to this highly refined style giving an impression of verticality accentuated. The male differs from the female. It is indeed more strongly marked with sex.
4 - Other areas stylistic

Among the productions it is difficult to determine the origin, a last group of stylistic headdresses is assigned with less certainty, in the Sikasso region characterized by these masks, sleek and sophisticated and stylized forms.
Also some photographs chanting the route of exposure, the films will show the masks in motion.
Bamana culture of Mali in the museum's permanent exhibition

In a large area devoted to West Africa, a dozen windows more or less similar (between FY 20 and FY 105) Bamana contain objects of all kinds and styles varied: robe embroidered tunic talismanic, wooden statues, sacred objects of Kono, anthropomorphic spears, masks and headdress, lock, musical instruments, hats and hunting campaign.

Ciwara, African chimeras, edited by Lorenz Homberger, 96 pages, co-published Branly / 5 Continents, 25 €
what is an exposure issue?

This is an exhibition, most often ethnographic and thematic visit lasting about I / 2 hours, which presents and showcases the richness and diversity of the collections of the Musée du Quai Branly .

upcoming exhibitions folders:
Royal Collection North America
"Yucatan is elsewhere" Desire Charnay's photographic expeditions (February-May 2007)
Ciwara, African chimeras

Curator: Lorenz Homberger
design: Frédéric Druot


Collection Armand Auxietre
Art primitif, Art premier, Art africain, African Art Gallery, Tribal Art Gallery
41 rue de Verneuil 75007 PARIS
Tél. Fax. : +33 (0)6 61 12 97 26
Terms and conditions Legals  Website map  Contact us      
Powered by CAMUXI - Version : 4.0037 - ©2022