African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Baga

Statue Baga (N° 16330)

French African art collection.
Mixed with the Nalu and Landuman, the Baga live along the coasts of Guinea-Bissau in areas of swamps flooded six months a year. These Baga groups, based on the coast and living from rice farming, are made up of seven subgroups, including Baga Kalum, Bulongic, Baga sitem, Baga Mandori, etc. They believe in a creative god called Nagu, Naku, which they do not represent, and which is accompanied by a male spirit whose name is Somtup. Apart from the famous Nimba mask, they have created a powerful mask, a hybrid of snake, gazelle, chameleon and crocodile, in order to communicate with the spirits of the forest. After the abandonment of rites following Islamization, colonization, or conversions to Christianity, the Baga now seek to revive their traditions through festive ceremonies using masks. Alongside the extinction of male initiations since the 1950s, women's societies hold ritual danceceremonies during which sessions of possession and divination are frequently held. These groups make use of caryatid sculptures, masks and drums. The statue presented embodies a protective entity to which sacrifices were periodically dedicated. This feminine effigy harvested in Guinea-Bissau embodies the concept of local beauty, sophisticated hairstyle, elaborate facial and body scarifications, ringed neck evoking opulence, young woman's chest. Scarifications are indicated by raised ribs drawn on the face, while the hairstyle is finely streaked with braids. The bust embellished with keloid scars, and the frontal position supported by solid lower limbs, recall the statuary Gouro, Dan, and Wé, of Côte d'Ivoire. Splendon on one elbow. Oiled, lustrous, locally abraded patina.
Ref. :U.0022Baga" D.Berliner  

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OriginColl. Prodhomme
Height cm66
Width17 cm
Weight3.00 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1950

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