The tyi wara headdress, set on top of the head using a wicker
basket, was the attribute of its initiation society whose fundamental
principles are to harmonize the community life, the fertility of the
cultures and the place of the Man within cosmos. At the time of these
ceremonies, the mask, then inert and secular, became the attribute of
a dressed up dancer which gave it life and word. Because this is only
through the movement, and through the dancer more particularly, that
the mask finds its effectiveness.
The tyi wara were worn for ceremonies celebrating agricultural
life, and usually, they were dancing in couple. Representing stylized
antelopes, male and female, these headdresses are decorated with
ridges and chevron-shaped drawings, the horns are finely twisted, and
the eyes are inlaid with glass. Symbol of fecundity, the tyi
wara express the art to make a ground fertile ; symbol of
the mankind origins, they also express the creation of the universe
by analogy of the symbols and the myths.
Probably 19th century.
Female size (inches) : 26 x 16 ; male size (inches) :
28. 7 x 17
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