Many of you do not know of the curious Bambara tribe located deep in Mali. They consist of an ancient society that uses symbolical sculptures as part of their daily ritualism. A Chi Wara, Chiwara or Tyi Wara is a figurine-like object that was carved by their tribe to represent their themes and stories. Mainly used either as masks or small sculptures, the Chiwara are a type of visual communication that tribesmen use to relate others with their agricultural and social activities. In Bambara, the word means "laboring wild animal, and represents the story of how the creation of farming arose in Bambara culture. Traditional Chiwara sculptures were hand-carved out of wood, however stylistic variations have been seen depending on the time and location that the artifact was uncovered or found from. Some styles that researchers have been able to categorize are the Bougouni or South region style which combines several animal subjects into the same composition, the Bamako or North region style where orientation is usually horizontal, and the Segu or Mainland region style where male sculptures are created with a vertical orientation and a triangular body. Aside from these, there is also one last style; the Sikasso region style where sculptures are made with a thin vertical orientation that resembles human anatomical design, but done in a delicate feel.

The Bambara story of agriculture revolves around the folklore of the hero Chi Wara, a half human and half antelope born from a union of the sky goddess Mousso Koroni and an earth spirit with the form of  a cobra snake. The Chi Wara came to the earth to teach humans how to sow and harvest vegetation.

The figure of the Chi Wara is traditionally a recreation of the character from the myth; a half human and half antelope creature adorned with emblems of farming. Its body is often depicted through long, slender orientations, symbolizing its descent into the earth (like the tools of a farmer plow into the fertile soil). Other elements of the sculpture may represent the plant to be harvested, plentiful water, and a bountiful harvest. Patterns sometimes imitate the direction of the sun's position in the horizon. Sculptures can also come in male and female pairs, denoting a sense of fertility both in human society and in agricultural activity. The Chi ware is indeed a treasure of the Bambara tribe that shows how artistic sculpture and visual symbolisms hold up a culture of human beings and their community.

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