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Highlights: African Art

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Image of Mask (D'mba)

Baga Peoples

Mask (D'mba)

20th century

Object Type: Sculpture
53 x 18 x 22 in. (135 x 46 x 56 cm)
Medium and Support: Wood, raffia, and brass tacks
Accession Number: 2019.0010

Credit Line: Gift of Dileep and Martha Mehta in honor of Director Emeritus Mark M. Johnson

Masks were traditionally made and worn in performance by men, accounting for the large size and weight of this D’mba mask made by the Baga people of Guinea. D’mba is the “universal mother,” and represents a mature, resilient woman who has borne children. It rests upon the shoulders of a dancer wearing a raffia costume, and would thus be highly visible to those viewing the mask performance. Its scale would have required a man of significant strength to bear its weight while moving as required in the dance. D’mba appears at planting and harvesting festivals, marriages, births, and funerals, and is connected to the prosperity and well being of the community as a whole.

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