Headdress: Female Bust with Horns (D'mba-da-Tshol?)

Baga peoples

Not on view

D’mba-da-Tshol, or D’mba of medicine, is the distorted pendant to D’mba, the epitome of beauty and devotion among the Baga peoples of Guinea. Often represented as a disfigured female bust, D’mba-da-Tshol might be characterized here by a pair of imposing V-shaped vertical horns, over a small round head with closed eyes, long neck and compressed bust. Worn as a crest at the top of the head, the face and body of the dancer below is covered by a disheveled mix of grass, raffia, old banana leaves and dirty rags. Specialist Frederick Lamp has described its appearances as a chaotic dance with aggressive movements, accompanied by dissonant music. Its apparition during the funerals of male elders provides an amusing, yet frightening counterbalance to the elegant dance of D’mba, alternating but never overlapping with her.

Headdress: Female Bust with Horns (D'mba-da-Tshol?), Wood, Baga peoples

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