Nimba Mask, Baga people, Guinea, West Africa. Mid 20th century.
Carved from wood, this mask has the facial characteristics and long pendulous breasts typical of these figures. Slight damage to one of the rear legs. Wear and patina commensurate with its age.
Also called D'mba Mask and Shoulder Helmet Mask. These masks represent the female energy, fertility and the concept or idea of good and joyous living, rather than the embodiment of a particular spirit or goddess. The Nimba is also a protector of pregnant women, and presides over all agricultural ceremonies. One of the few masks actually worn by women in Africa, large masks are worn supported by the shoulders over the head (hence the name shoulder mask) with long rafia shawls, while smaller masks like this one are placed in shrines to attract fertility, abundant harvests and success in the home.
Measurements: Height 27 cm, width at widest point 13 cm.