Baga a-Bamp Bird Headdress with Canoe

c. 1950
$2,380 USD
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W: 11.75" D: 18.0" H: 43.25"
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This graceful sculpture of a long-necked bird is a headdress known as "a-Bamp," worn during ritual masquerades of Baga adolescents in Guinea. With strong themes of defiance, these masquerades were not rituals of initiation, but rather served to unite Baga youths and counterpoint the authority of community elders. Likely carved to resemble stalking waterfowl such as the Goliath heron, the bird's posture, gaze, and painted plumage exude a sense of strength and dignity. Topping the bird's head is an ornament of three petite houses upon a boat, perhaps symbolizing the youth's ambitions for the future.

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