Nimba Mask, Baga people, Guinea, West Africa. Late 20th century.
Carved from wood, this statue has the facial characteristics and long pendulous breasts typical of these figures. Wear and patina commensurate with its age, including some minor splitting on either side of the body and a small loss of wood from the figure's hair do at the top. Attracts good fortune to the home.
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 31 cm, depth 15 cm, width at widest point 14 cm.