Nimba (d’mba) mask. The nimba masks are among the most imposing of all African masks. It represents the idea of the fertile woman. The exaggerated, pendulous breasts are typical for these masks, which had a double function: sterile women in the Simo society invoked it as a goddess of fertility, and it was used at the first-fruit (rice) rituals, symbolically associating female fertility with the increase of the grain. The masks are used by dancers at birth, marriages, harvest festivals and other joyful ceremonies.
Exhibited at the "Fertile, Frightful, Divine"show. New Brunswick, NJ. July 2011