Have you ever wondered what these were? Is this a mask or a sculpture? How was it used?

It is an emblem of Bansongyi, men's secret association. This headpiece, also called bansongyi, presents a python standing upright. Baga People of Guinea carve these snake headpieces which can be as high as 9 feet.

Bansongyi lives in the sacred forest and emerges when it is time to begin the boys' coming-of-age rites. As receptacle for the most powerful spirit, bansongyi is believed to be the strongest adversary of sorcery and destructive forces that could endanger the well-being of the village. Bansongyi also appears at the funeral celebrations of the most important members of the community. They were held on the shoulders of a dancer.This particular mask is unusual because its coloration resembles the coloration of a real snake.

Featured item: Baga Bansongyi SKU: #G13B11M2501

Written by Vera Raskin — October 03, 2013

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