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Introduction to the Baga; Headdress (D'mba)

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1979.206.17

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MMA Collection Database

Timeline of Art History: "Headdress <Baga peoples; Guinea> (1979.206.17)". New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2006)

Other Web Resources

Published Resources

Links with shelf numbers refer to WATSONLINE, the online library catalog of the Museum. Photocopies of each source reference are available in the Goldwater Library. Certain electronic resources are accessible within the museum or with an approved remote connection. For those with only a limited amount of time, we suggest those titles in boldface below.

Background information of Baga culture and masks as a form of spiritual expression:

  • Lamp, Fredrick. “The Art of the Baga: A Preliminary Inquiry.” African Arts Vol. 19, no. 2 (1986): 64-67, 92. [A A2583 v. 19 or Online]
    • A brief account of Baga culture, beliefs, and art.
  • Acosta Mallo, Antonio and Pilar Llull Martinez de Bedoya. Art of Black Africa. Lagos, 1992. (O3 A18)
    • General description of Baga culture, as well as a statement of function for specific types of Baga art, including d'mbas, eleks, and bansonyi.
  • Fraser, Douglas. Primitive Art. New York, 1962. (K3 F84)
    • General explanation of the purpose of the d'mba mask.
  • National Gallery (Rhodesia). Exhibitions on the Occasion of the First International Congress of African Culture. Salisbury, 1962. (O2 H25)
    • Brief general history of the Baga, as well as a description of the bansonyi and their purpose.
  • Leiris, Michel, and Jacqueline Delange. African Art. New York, 1968. (O3 L55a)
    • The influence of living on the coast of Africa on the Baga, a general statement about the art of the Baga, and an explanation of the d'mba's function.
  • Lamp, Frederick. African Art of the West Atlantic Coast: Transition in Form and Content. New York, 1979. (O2 N538a)
    • Meaning and purpose of the Baga spirits (including Atsol and Ninkinanka).
    • The function of ceremonies in Baga culture (with reference to Simo Society), as well as a description of the "spiritual world" of the Baga.
  • Institut National de Recherches et de Documentation (Guinea). Chefs d-oeuvre de l’art guinéen et african: cataloque. Conakry, 1966. (O2 C74)
    • A detailed description of every aspect of masks and masking (creation, meaning, etc.).
  • Meauzé, Pierre. African Art: Sculpture. New York, 1968. (O3 M48a)
    • Brief discussion of the use of wood and its carving.

Illustrations of d'mbas, eleks, and bansonyi:

  • Leiris, Michel, and Jacqueline Delange. African Art. New York, 1968. (O3 M48a)
    • Illustration of the d'mba in the Musée de l'homme and a bansonyi from a private collection, as well as a brief discussion of d'mba and bansonyi, in general.
  • Traditional Art of the African Nations in the Museum of Primitive Art. New York, 1961. (O2 N55 5 REF)
    • Illustrations of an elek, d'mba, and two bansonyi.
  • Lamp, Frederick. Art of the Baga: A Drama of Cultural Reinvention. New York, 1996. (O5CB L23)
    • Extensive illustration of Baga works in public and private collections.
  • Besançon Festival Artistique. L’Art de l’Afrique noire. Besançon, 1958. (O2 B55)
    • Illustrations of a d'mba from the collection of Le Corneur et Roudillon and a bansonyi from the collection of Germaine Dieterlen.
  • African-American Institute (New York). Cultural Resistance: Art from Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, and Angola. October 29, 1974-February 1, 1975. New York, 1974. (RGL VERTICAL FILE / A)
    • Illustrations of a d'mba from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Abrams and a bansonyi from the former Museum of Primitive Art.
  • The Language of African Art: A Guest Exhibition of the Museum of African Art and the Smithsonian Institute Fine Arts and Portait Gallery Building. May 24-September 7, 1970. Washington D.C., 1970. (O2 W335)
    • Illustration of a d'mba with an excerpt of a song sung by a Baga woman.

Information specific to d'mbas (English):

  • Lamp, Frederick. Art of the Baga: A Drama of Cultural Reinvention. New York, 1996. (O5CB L23)
    • A detailed discussion of every aspect of the d'mba, as well as discussions of other types of Baga art often mistaken for d'mbas.
  • Niane, Djibril Tamsir. “Nimba, Goddess of Fertility in Baga Land.” Afrique Historie U.S. 1 (1982): 63-64. [Need to add to VF?]
    • Detailed personal account of the festivities surrounding the d'mba mask, as well as a discussion of its symbolism and importance to Baga culture.
  • Acosta Mallo, Antonio and Pilar Llull Martinez de Bedoya. Art of Black Africa. Lagos, 1992. (O3 A18)
    • Illustration with a brief statement of description, purpose, and use.
  • Vogel, Susan, and Francine N’Diaye. African Masterpieces from the Musée de l’homme. New York, 1985. (O2 N489)
    • Illustration of a d'mba, along with a statement on d'mba in general.
  • African Sculpture [loan exhibition] Circulated by the International Exhibitions Foundation, 1970. [Catalog] by Willam Fagg. Washington D.C., 1970. (O2 W34)
    • Illustration of the d'mba from the former Museum of Primitive Art, along with brief comments on Baga culture and d'mba.
  • C.W. Post College Fine Arts Center. African Sculpture. New York, 1969. (O2 G79a)
  • “Baga Shoulder Mask, Nimba.” In Sotheby's. Important Tribal Art (May10). New York, 1988: Fig 29. (E N53 1988 May 10)
    • Illustration of the d'mba housed at the Baltimore Museum of Art accompanied by a detailed and brief description of d'mba in general, in terms of appearance and function.
  • Leuzinger, Elsy. African Sculptures. Zurich, 1963. (O3 L65a)
    • Illustrations of two d'mba with brief general commentary.
  • Paudrat, Jean-Louis, and Michel Huet. The Dance, Art and Ritual of Africa. New York, 1978. (OM H88d)
    • Illustration of a yoké mask, often confused for a d'mba mask, as well as a discussion of the difference between them.
  • The Museum of Primitive Art. Masks and Sculpture from the Collection of Gustave and Franyo Schindler. New York, 1966. (K2 N53 11 REF)
  • The Museum of Primitive Art. The Museum of Primitive Art: Second Exhibition. New York, 1957. (K2 N53 7 REF)
    • Illustration of a d'mba from two viewpoints (collection unknown).
  • Sieber, Roy. Africa: Images and realities. Saint Paul, 1962. (O2 S15)
    • Illustration of a d'mba with a brief statement on Baga history, culture, and art.
  • Fagg, William. and Eliot Elisofon. The Sculpture of Africa. New York, 1978. (O3 E47 1978 Quarto)
    • Illustration of a d'mba from three viewpoints (collection unknown).
  • Griaule, Marcel. Folk Art of Black Africa. New York, 1950. (O3 G84f)
    • Illustration of a d'mba in full ceremonial garb.
  • Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art : an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 10-August 17, 1969. New York, 1969. (K2 N522a)
  • Kjersmeier, Carl. Centres de style de la sculpture nègre africaine. Reprint ed. New York, 1979. (O3 K62c 1967)
    • Illustration of a d'mba from the collection of Pablo Picasso.
  • “Nimba, a West African Shoulder Mask.” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin Vol. 30, no. 2 (1965): cover, 32. (WATSON 108.1N45Y1)
    • Illustration of a d'mba housed at the Yale University Art Gallery.
  • The Museum of Primitive Art. African Sculpture Lent by New York Collectors. New York, 1958. (O2 N55 1)
  • Escultura Africana no Museu de Etnologia do Ultramar. Lisbon, 1968. (O3 L76)
    • Illustration of a d'mba (collection unknown).

Information specific to d'mbas (French):

  • Geertuyen, Godelieve van. “La Fonction de la sculpture dans une société africaine: Les Baga, Nalu et Landuman (Guinée).” Africana Gandensia 1 (1976): 63-94. (A A2598 v.1)
    • Explanation of the purpose of sculpture in African society, with specific mention of d'mba, bansonyi and elek.
    • Extremely detailed description of// d'mba in general, and a statement of their purpose and use.
  • Geertruyen, Godelieve van. “Le Style Nimba.” Arts d’Afrique noire 31 (1979):20-37. (A A2589 v.31)
    • Detailed description of d'mba, statement of their importance, and a discussion of the different types of d'mba and similar works of art.

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