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Today, the Baga people occupy the northern coast of Guinea and the southern coast of Guinea-Bissau. They live in the marshy area flooded six months of the year, during which time the only way to get around is by a dugout canoe. Their villages are traditionally headed by the eldest members of each clan. The men fish and grow cola nuts; the women grow rice. Spiritually, they believe in a single god, known as Kanu, assisted by a male and female spirits. The only fundamental ritual is initiation. The female form, so important in Baga art, manifests itself in various carvings, in particular in the present figure. This kneeling figure of rather naturalistic form represents an initiated woman. A layer of red paint is visible in some places – the color red is used against witchcraft and manifestations of evil, being the color of fire and therefore repellent to witches. Female figures of this type were used by many of the adult women’s organizations.
Visit this sculpture on our museum site