Large Baga Mask
A very large Baga mask, intricately carved in a similar style of the Banda nalu mask.
Tribe: Baga / Nalu
Approx Age: 1970’s
Dimensions cm: 122 long x 27 wide x 30 tall
Ref. Number: 0994
A really impressive and impacting large Baga mask from the Guinea Coast, stunning workmanship, but in my opinion despite its age and wear patina I believe its possible that this could have been carved for the collectors market, this wonderful piece has its own bespoke stand and presents beautifully. An exquisite piece of art, just possibly not made for tribal use.
According to Frederick Lamp, Art of the Baga, “The character Banda, also called Kumbaruba by some Baga groups, has a long, horizontal headdress composed of the jaw of a crocodile, the face of a human being (with Baga scarification marks and a woman’s elaborately braided coiffure), the horns of an antelope, the body of a serpent, and the tail of a chameleon. This huge headdress ranges from c. 120 to over 200 centimetres long…It is among the Nalu that it has been best noted in the literature, beginning with its earliest collection, but the Sociedade de Geographia, Lisbon, before 1890.
It reportedly figured in ritual designed to protect against crocodile attacks, human malevolence, and other dangers, especially at the time of male initiation to mark the attainment of adolescence, adulthood, and elder status. It also appeared on such events as marriage, harvest celebrations and new planting ritual, and the appearance of the new moon, all auspicious occasions. Consultants among the Baga Mandori stated categorically that it was only for “happy occasions – not funerals”
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