Tribe of the Week: The Baga People

November 21, 2017 By

An all new tribe page is up for the Baga people! Take a look here.

The Baga live in the swampy lands of the Guinea Atlantic coastline. Their name is most likely from the phrase, “bae raka,” which means “the people of the seaside.”

The Baga people often create serpent themed headdresses referred to as “Bansonyi” or “Mantsho,” which represent a divine serpent spirit called “Ninkinanka.” Ninkinanka is a spirit who bestows rain, fertility and wealth onto the Baga people. He can manifest himself in many forms, including a rainbow since they often indicate water or rain. Dancing a Mantsho requires outstanding balance and strength and moving about in a serpentine fashion. The height of the headdress can reach up 8 ft or more!

The Baga also create bird masks, which is a common mask worn in masquerades for coming-of-age ceremonies for young boys. It is referred to as “a-Bemp” or “a-Bamp,” meaning “the bird” and features a long neck, a long beak, a protruding belly and broad-striped wings over the back. Many of these a-Bemp masks have a miniature twin bird on their backs, often in conjunction with a little house.

Check out our Pinterest board, The Baga Tribe and be sure to read more on our new tribe page.

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