Lot: 49

Helmet-shaped headdress "sigi(kun)"

Mali, South Bamana area north to the border of Ivory Coast

Provenance Size Hammer price
Christie's, London, 8 November 1977, Lot 244
Wolfgang Ketterer, Munich, 4 May 1979, Lot 32
Rudolf Leopold (1925-2010), Vienna, Austria
H: 15.4 inch sold

wood, pigments, inscribed in red paint "1050/7", label "3208", rest.

According to K.H. Krieg, an almost identical helmet from the Barbier-Mueller Museum (AHDRC 0130903) was used in performances called "sigi" by Bamana communities in southern Mali.

Patrick Girard, who has conducted intensive field research throughout the Senufo region (especially in its northern part in contact with the Southern Bamana groups) for thirty years, confirmed Kriegs' opinion that this helmet originated in the Southern Bamana region. According to Girard, the headdress is called "sigikun" - the "head of the buffalo" or "wild ox" and was used by hunting associations, which he observed with his own eyes.

Kriegs and Girards attribution is contrasted with the opinion of the art historian Anita Glaze, who assumed the origin of the Barbier-Mueller helmet in the southern Gbato-Senufo region, near Ganaoni, and attributed the helmet to the Senufo carver Sabarikwo of Ouazomon on the basis of stylistic features (Art of Côte d' Ivoire, Vol II, p. 17).

Barbier, Jean Paul (ed.), Art of Côte d' Ivoire, Vol II, Genève 1993, p. 17, ill. 10
Schädler, Karl-Ferdinand, Afrikanische Kunst in Deutschen Privatsammlungen, München 1973, p. 79, ill. 94; Schädler, Karl-Ferdinand, Afrikanische Kunst, München 1975, p. 83, Fig. 102 (as a drawing)

ADHRC: 0073087