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Tribal art > African mask > Baga Mask

Big Baga Nimba Mask (N° 17535)

This shoulder mask, from the Baga du Nord also used in the Nalu, features a voluminous head with a buzzed nose evoking a bird's beak over a tubeular, reduced mouth, a summit ridge, and prominent horseshoe ears. A metal nailing highlights the features. This large mask, of exceptional size, would embody an idealized baga woman, and principles of fertility and abundance of harvests. They occur during harvests, marriages or deaths. The raffia adornment, painstakingly attached to a textile ribbon nailed to the contours, completely conceals four high legs. Oiled dark patina, abrasions and desication 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. He is assisted by the female spirit A-Bol. Apart from the famous Nimba mask, Dimba, they have created a powerful mask, hybrid snake, gazelle, chameleon and crocodile, in order to communicate with the spirits of the forest. Two groups, kamana and bangoura , make up the baga villages, each ruled by a chief: marriages can only take place between these two halves. The initiation society to-lom (sacred) organizes the rituals every twenty-four years. Its closure is marked by the appearance of the great snake mask bansonyi embodying the spirit A-Mantsho-nga-Tshol which protects the initiates from the lower ranks.
Ref.: Baga, D.Berliner.  

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OriginCollection Prodhomme
Material(s)wood, metal, raphia
Weight70.00 Kg
Estimated dating1ère halfxx°

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