Spectacular tribal mask used for protective purposes, it was once used by the initiates of male secret societies during their initiation rites and funerals. It was also supposed to protect circumcised youth from evil influences. This mask dances by imitating all the attitudes of the animals represented. Powerful mask, hybrid snake, gazelle, chameleon and crocodile, intended to communicate with the spirits of the forest, it was worn obliquely on the head. Brick red polychromy, dark blue, black and white. Locally flaked matte patina. Abrasions, cracks. Mêlés in Nalu and Landuman, the Baga live along the coasts of Guinea-Bissau in areas of swamps flooded six months a year. They believe in a creative god called Nagu , Naku , which they do not represent, and which is accompanied by a male spirit whose name is Somtup , depicted by a large cage covered with raffia whose top is a bird's head. The basic ritual, among the Baga and their neighbours, consists of the initiation that takes place every twenty-four years. The initiation society is called after the summoned spirit, or to-lom ( After the abandonment of the rites following the Islamization and colonization, the Bagas now seek to revive their traditions through festive ceremonies using masks.
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