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Tribal art > African mask > Baga mask

Baga a-bem crest mask (N° 20591)

Mixed with the Nalu and Landuman, the Baga live along the coast of Guinea-Bissau in swampy areas that are flooded six months of the year. They believe in a creator god called Nagu, Naku, whom they do not represent, and who is accompanied by a male spirit, one of whose names is Somtup, figured by a large raffia-covered cage with a bird's head at the top. Another spirit adopts a snake form, the bansonyi , chief of the initiates of the to-lom classes. Each family has, among a variety of consecrated objects , an altar in the form of a composite bird and human figure, a-tshöl or elek ,rising from a circular base. Frequent sacrifices are believed to reactivate the protective power of the elek . Other headdresses feature the bird, including the a-nok mask or the a-bemp or a-bamp mask that was placed on the head, present during the initiation ritual. It now appears during secular festivities.
Polychrome patina, desiccation cracks. After the abandonment of the rites following Islamization and then colonization, the Baga today seek to revive their traditions through festive ceremonies using the masks.  

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OriginEx-collection française
EthnyBaga
CountryGuinée
Material(s)wood, vannerie
Height58
Width24
Weight2.80 Kg
Socle inclusOptional

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