Greystones Fine Interiors
Greystones Fine Interiors is located in Peterborough, United Kingdom
Baga Nimba Mask Pair
The Baga are a people living on the coast of guinea-bassau in flooded swamp regions. The D’mba mask is a performance piece worn on the head and shoulders of a young male masquerader of the Baga people to accompany ceremonial dances. In masquerade, the dancer typically wears a full raffia palm-fiber skirt, with a long indigo-dyed cloth wrapped around the figure’s torso, just under the breasts. The dancer holds the mask by the front legs and looks through small eye holes between D’mba’s breasts. The mask is normally worn for special occasions such as marriages, funerals and harvest celebrations. The D’mba mask portrays a mature woman, an icon of motherhood. During wedding festivities in particular, this role of women is exalted, “so that the new spouses will choose the good path.” As the dance is only performed during the day, art historian Fred Lamp speculates that this may be due to an iconic association of D’mba with light and goodness. D’mba exemplifies ideal femininity through her coiffure, adornment, dress, and devotion to nurturing her children. Although other types of masks made by the Baga are typically viewed as spirits or deities, D’mba portrays the ‘idea’ of motherhood, representing a mother who bore and nursed many children. For example, her flattened breasts represent the “selfless dedication with which she has nursed numerous children to adulthood.” With her elegant hairstyle, “…cosmetically refined with continual polishing with oil before each appearance, she presented the villagers with an inspiring image of nobility and prosperity.” Young women derived the strength to bear and nurture children from her. The Baga people along the western coast of Guinea depend heavily on the rainy season due to their agrarian society and lifestyle, and they reflected this in their artwork. The mask has linear patterns carved into its surface that refer to this agricultural state of mind when the mask was viewed in a performance. These geometric designs symbolize the hope for plentiful rain for the coming season and fertile crops to harvest, while also alluding to affection and cooking, both qualities seen by woman in this time of motherhood] Most D’mba masks are similar in style, differing only by an inch or two in height and varying slightly in incised patterns, yet all have the same basic artistic features. " Nimba is the joy of living; it is the promise of abundant harvest" This, male and female, pair of masks are modest in scale (when compared to the great masks used for rituals, being 75cm in height and approximately 30cm in width and depth. They are a very beautiful and bring a serene energy. We believe these masks to be 40-70 years old, but due to limitations of C14 Carbon dating, with it's +/-45 year tolerance cannot provide a specific age.
Greystones Fine Interiors has clarified that the Baga Nimba Mask Pair (LA334292) is genuinely of the period declared with the date/period of manufacture being 1950
Good condition, commensurate with age. Hardwood in good condition, very marginal splitting (as expected), little erosion,
Can be shipped within the UK and Internationally, at cost. A shipping quote will be provided before a purchase is completed.
This Baga Nimba Mask Pair is located in Peterborough, United Kingdom