Hand carved wooden bird headdress from the Baga people of Guinea. This large statue features colorful pigmentation, intricately carved detail and is mounted to a custom base.
Late 20th Century African Baga A-Bemp Bird Headdress 56″ – Guinea
1 in stock
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About the Baga People
The Baga people live amid the southern swampy lands of the Guinea Atlantic coastline. According to oral tradition, they originally lived along the interior highlands but were driven westward by their neighbors. The name ‘Baga’ is believed to have come from the phrase ‘bae raka’, meaning “people of the seaside”.
Read more about the Baga here.
About the A-Bemp Headdress
At adolescence, young boys of the Baga enter a new stage. They form wrestling groups, and much of their ritual has to do with combat. They also continue to conduct their own ritual, some of which involves masquerade. A headdress shaped as the figure of a large bird has long been one of the most popular masquerades of young men and boys. It is called 'the bird' -'a-Bemp' or 'a-Bamp'.The basic headdress is simply a bird form with a long neck, a long beak, a pot-bellied body, and broad striped wings over the back. A stake extends down from its belly, used to insert into an armature that the dancer wears on his head. The headdress can range in form from softly naturalistic to extravagantly abstract and composite. Many of these figures bear twin miniature birds on their backs, often in conjunction with a miniature house. A checkerboard pattern often appears on the bird's front.