About this artwork
Baga people have made headdresses like this one, which portrays an ideal of mature womanhood, since at least the 17th century. The woman depicted here is formidable, with a prominent nose, jutting chin, strong neck, and large breasts that once nurtured her young. Decorative lines—at one time accentuated by brass tacks—embellish her face, neck, and chest, and short vertical lines representing scarification are incised high on her cheeks. Today such headdresses are cherished representations of Baga ethnicity and are worn with costumes in entertainment masquerades. Massive and heavy, they require great strength from the young men who dance in them.
- Female Headdress (Nimba, D'mba, or Yamban)
- Wood and brass tacks with traces of pigment
- 119.4 × 33 × 59.1 cm (47 × 13 × 23 1/4 in.)
- W. G. Field Fund, Inc.; Edward E. Ayer Endowment in memory of Charles L. Hutchinson