African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Baga Snake
Baga Snake (N° 18758)
French African art collection.
This object, whose base forms a circle from which the head of the snake emerges, was probably used in a similar context in which the snake masks of the various Baga groups appeared. This symbolic evocation of a mythical snake-genius, carried in procession during certain rites, or placed on an altar, was intended to protect the village. Cracks and abrasions from use.
African initiatory serpentine mask used mainly by the Bulongic (village of Kifinda), subgroup Baga of the Guinean coast, its size can go up to 2.50 m. Its conception took shape in an esoteric context,at night within the forest. Privileges of initiated men, embodying a spiritual entity, the Baga Sangaran masks were only used for circumcision, every 24 years according to the ethnologist Denise Paulme. During certain dances, the mask was placed on the head, held in balance by a bamboo structure and by the arms of the wearer, who was himself covered with a cloth and a raffia loincloth. Among the Baga Koba, the mask was worn on the shoulder, without a costume. In other groups, the mask appeared in different contexts.
The Baga live along the Atlantic coast of the Republic of Guinea in West Africa. They are one of the smallest ethnic groups in Guinea, and have lived in relative isolation from their neighbors due to the vast swamps surrounding them.
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( source: Baga , David Berliner)
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