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Baga Landuma Mask Guinea African Art

Product #: 122892
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Title Baga Landuma Mask Guinea African Art
Type of Object Mask
Country of Origin Guinea
People Landuma, baga
Materials Wood
Approximate Age Early 20th century
Dimensions Height: 19 Inches
Width: 7 Inches
Overall Condition Fair
Damage/Repair Cracks, chips and a well worn patina

Addition Information: A wonerful example of the known Landuma sculpture motif "Tonkongba".  But the motif is not well understood: some suggest it represents a Crocodile while others suggested it is a Dolphin.  Landuma culture is steeped in local mythology and secrecy.  It served not only as a headpiece with a grass (raffia) costume that reached to the ground covering the dancer but was also kept on a shrine (altar) as an important object endowed with magical powers.

The headpiece does not represent a specific being or animal but is a mythic and symbolic composite.  Despite the bovine style horns and extended face the mask known as Tonkongba among the Baga and Tabakan among the Landuma people, the mask-headpiece is said to be a creature from the sea.  It was also called Namba among the neighboring Nalu. However in much of the literature it is identified with the Landuma.  

Recommended Reading:

D. Paulme, African Sculpture (London, 1962)

D. Paulme: ‘Structures sociales en pays Baga’, Bull. Inst. Fr. Afrique Noire, xviii/1–2

       (1956), pp. 98–116

P. Meauzé: African Art (Cleveland, 1968)

D. Paulme: ‘Head (Elek)’, For Spirits and Kings: African Art from the Paul and

                   Ruth Tishman Collection, ed. S. Vogel; (New York,1981), pp. 58–9

D. T. Niane, ‘Nimba: Goddess of Fertility in Baga Land’, Afrique Hist., i (1982),

                    pp. 63–4

F. Lamp,  ‘The Art of the Baga: A Preliminary Inquiry’, African Arts, xix/2 (1986),

pp. 64–7, 92

F. Lamp,   Art of the Baga.  (New York,1996)