Female Headdress (Nimba, D'mba, or Yamban)

A work made of wood and brass tacks with traces of pigment.

Image actions

  • A work made of wood and brass tacks with traces of pigment.

Date:

Mid–19th/early 20th century

Artist:

Baga
Guinea
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

This majestic headdress embellished with upholstery tacks depicts the traditional Baga ideal of mature womanhood, with pendulous breasts that connote child-bearing and nurturing. The incised lines covering its surface mimic body scarification, and it was originally colored with pigments. These massive sculptures are worn by young men in entertainment masquerades that celebrate Baga ethnicity. In the late 1950s Baga art traditions and related religious practices were temporarily abandoned due to the introduction of Islam into the region and the “demystification” campaign of Guinea’s first president. The country achieved independence in 1958 after the Islamic Revolution of 1954–57, and this national program was aimed at purging traditional religion of its essential mysticism. In practice, demystification led to persecution and the massive destruction of ritual art. Baga culture and art was subsequently revived in the late 1980s.

On View

Arts of Africa, Gallery 137

Artist

Baga

Title

Female Headdress (Nimba, D'mba, or Yamban)

Origin

Guinea

Date

1850–1925

Medium

Wood and brass tacks with traces of pigment

Dimensions

119.4 × 33 × 59.1 cm (47 × 13 × 23 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

W. G. Field Fund, Inc.; Edward E. Ayer Endowment in memory of Charles L. Hutchinson

Reference Number

1957.160

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 .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share