Snake Headdress (a-Mantsho-ña-Tshol or Inap)

A work made of wood and pigment.

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  • A work made of wood and pigment.

Date:

Late 19th/early 20th century

Artist:

Baga, Nalu, Landuma, Pukur, or Buluñits
Guinea
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

The performance of the snake headdress required extraordinary strength and balance. With the headdress lashed to a conical framework of palm branches and balanced atop the head, the dancer performed sharp, quick movements; he dipped and rotated the sculpture by bending at the knees and turning at the waist. The snake is associated with the swamp-dwelling boa constrictor spirit, who blesses humankind with rain, fertility, and wealth. Snake headdress performances were widespread until the mid-1950s, when Islamic revolutionaries led a campaign to consolidate the religious and national identity of the nascent Republic of Guinea.

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Arts of Africa

Culture

Baga

Title

Snake Headdress (a-Mantsho-ña-Tshol or Inap)

Origin

Guinea

Date

1875–1925

Medium

Wood and pigment

Dimensions

H. 205.7 cm (81 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Muriel Kallis Newman

Reference Number

2007.572

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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