African art > Mask > Snake Mask
Small snake mask Baga Bansonyi (N° 18634)
The polychromy of this African naja mask is well preserved. Decorated with losangic motifs in contrasting tones, it offers a patina of matte and velvety use. The contours of the flat, triangular head are engraved with a dentition. The lower part has erosion.
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As african serpentiform initiation group used mainly by Bulongic (Kifinda village), a subgroup Baga on Guinean coastline, its size can be as large as 2.50 m. These masks were divided into two groups bearing the names Mosolo kombo and Sangaran , each with specific functions. Their design took shape in an esoteric context, at night in the forest. Privileges of initiated men, embodying a spiritual entity, the Baga Sangaran masks attended only circumcision, every 24 years according to the ethnologist Denise Paulme. During some dances the mask was placed on the head, balanced by a bamboo structure and by the arms of the wearer himself covered with a cloth and a raffia loincloth. At the Baga Koba, the mask was worn on the shoulder, without a suit. In other groups, the mask appeared in different contexts.
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