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Baga Nimba D'mba Shoulder Headdress African Art

Regular Price: $2,300.00

Special Price: $1,300.00

Product #: 69582
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Title Baga Nimba D'mba Shoulder Headdress African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Guinea
People Baga
Materials Wood, nails, coins
Approximate Age Mid 20th Century.
Dimensions 39 inches height x 11 inches width
Overall Condition Fair to Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.
Damage/Repair large Cracks and chips in head, body and feet, wear and scratches, some oxidation and rusted metal

Additional Information: A wonderful shoulder mask comes from the Baga people.  This example displays many traditional components such as the spherical head, the plaited hair with medial crest, a large nose and pendulous breasts which hang close to the body,  its four legs, and geometric patterns decorating the hairstyle and the breast. It is decorated with nails and cons, and beautiful designs.
Such a mask
is known as a D'mba headdress, which is by far the most well known Baga work of art. Its use was documented as early as 1886. D'mba headdress represents an older woman who has given selflessly, and also represents community. It is worn on the head with a costume of raffia and cloth.

The offered mask is a powerful sculpture and work of a skilled artist. The surface and the rusting metal show indicate  much handling  and good age. Despite crack damages this example remains a delightful piece that would hold a prominent place in any collection of African Art. 

The Nimba masks, often monumental works carried on the shoulders, rank among the largest of all ritual objects in West Africa. Their use, as hinted at above, is rather ubiquitous. They are used at funerals, harvest festivals, and at initiations. Normally these "masks" have four legs or posts (for placement on the shoulders), The carving would then be provided with a colorful and elaborate costume prior to use.

The Baga people, a small group of 45,000, live along the coast of Guinea. The Baga moved to their current location as early as the 14thC. Their art is often quite abstract and spectacular, and is eagerly sought by collectors and revolves around nature, the harvest and the veneration of feminine beauty. All of these vital social and spiritually important elements are combined in the D'mba, or "Nimba." Prescott has said:" Nimba is the joy of living; it is the promise of abundant harvest in the entire Bagata."

For comparative examples see Lamp's ART OF THE BAGA.

Recommended Reading: Kerchache's ART OF AFRICA;


I have examined this piece and agree with the description.

Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.