Ci Wara Headdress

late 19th–early 20th century

African Art

On view, 1st floor, African Art

The performance of Ci Wara, the Farming Beast, commemorates an ancient animal/human deity who taught the ancestors to farm. The headdress is a combined form, with the head of an antelope, which leaps through the air and is associated with the sun, and the body of an aardvark, which digs for ants and is associated with the earth. A male and a female Ci Wara headdress are danced together in an agricultural ritual that promotes sexual union, fecundity, and unity in the cosmos. The dancers are male champion cultivators, who have earned the right to wear the headdresses. Through the performance, they celebrate this responsibility and arduous work.


Wood and brass tacks


10 1/2 × 3 3/4 × 21 1/8 in. (26.67 × 9.5 × 53.7 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn for the Linton Collection of African Art

Accession Number



19th–20th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Dr. Ralph Linton (1893–1953), by 1953 [see note 1]; by descent to his wife, Adelin Hohlfield Linton (1899–1977); sold to Marie-Louise Montgomery Osborn (1905–1968) and James Marshall Osborn (1906–1976), 1954; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.,1954

Note 1: Ralph Linton was the Sterling Professor of Anthropology at Yale from 1946 until his death in 1953.
  • Jessica Feinstein, "Art, Out of Africa," Yale Daily News (January 30, 2004), B1, ill
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

ceremonial objects, headdress, headgear, masks (costume)



Technical metadata and APIs


Open in Mirador

View IIIF manifest

The International Image Interoperability Framework, or IIIF, is an open standard for delivering high-quality, attributed digital objects online at scale. Visit to learn more

Linked Art

API response for this object

Linked Art is a Community working together to create a shared Model based on Linked Open Data to describe Art.