|Title||Baga Passport Snake Bansonyi Guinea African Art|
|Type of Object||Carving|
|Country of Origin||Guinea|
|Approximate Age||Mid 20th century|
|Dimensions||Height: 10.5 Inches
Width: 1 Inch
Additional Information: This particular piece is a passport Baga. It is much smaller than the larger snakes that are danced, and it is said to be used in predicting futeure events.
Most Baga snakes are large protective serpents, known in the literature under various names: Bansonyi, A-mantsho-na-tshol or Inap. They are said to be similar to the ferocious python, which spirits called "Ninkinanka." They are involved in curing infertility and droughts, bringing prosperity, wealth, and rain. During the initiation of young boys, the large serpent masks are involved in protecting boys at circumcision. In some sub-groups of Baga people, they appear during the initiation of young girls, also at funerals.
See a similar example in Phillips' AFRICA: THE ART OF A CONTINENT on p. 476; See also a similar example in the collection of Cleveland Museum of Art published in the catalog SOUTH OF THE SAHARA. SELECTION WORKS OF AFRICAN ART. THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART (by Constantine Petridis), fig. 12; ART OF THE BAGA (by Frederick Lamp), fig, 37a-b, p. 53