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Bissau-Guinean Baga Serpent Headdress


With sinuous curves and reptilian form, this large wooden carving represents the Baga Snake, or Bansonyi, a protective spirit that presides over male initiation rites of the Baga people of Guinea, West Africa. Worn as a headdress, this sculptural figure is held on the shoulders of a dancer whose body is concealed beneath a costume of raffia, bells, and colorful feathers. Often donned by a pair of male and female performers, the figures celebrate the transition of boys into men and provide spiritual protection for all members of the community. We love the way the artist invoked the snake’s undulating movements by giving the sculpture a slight, off-kilter sway. Additional dimensions: Base: 6" W x 6" D x 0.25" H.


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  • Condition
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions

    H 61.5 in. x W 5 in. x D 3.75 in.

    H 156.21 cm x W 12.7 cm x D 9.53 cm

  • Seller location
    Chicago, IL
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