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Guinea

Nimba (or D’mba) (Shoulder helmet mask) c.2005

Wood | 41.0 x 14.0 x 18.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 95893

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A carved wooden
model headdress or Nimba, of the d'mba form
found among the Baga people of Guinea.

In the form of a stylised female, with four slender legs, pendulous breasts and an
enlarged head with a long pointed nose and
protruding chin.

Headdresses of this type were worn over the shoulders by a dancer during wedding and harvest celebrations. The heavy
masks obscured the dancer's face, and were accompanied by
a
large raffia costume. The stylised female form represents motherhood and femininity, the pendant breasts indicating the nursing of many children.
This is a reduced size version of a Nimba mask.
The figure is a mature woman but she is used in ceremonies relating to agricultural fertility rather than human fertility.