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Baga Nimba D'mba Shoulder Mask Headdress African Art 33 Inch

Product #: 125369
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Title Baga Nimba D'mba Shoulder Mask Headdress African Art 33 Inch
Type of Object Carving, Figure, Statue, Sculpture, mask
Country of Origin Guinea
People Baga
Materials Wood, pigment
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 33 Inches
Width: 11 Inches
Depth: 14 Inches
Overall Condition Fair
Damage/Repair Cracks, chips and a well worn patina

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.  
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;