artists are well known for their multifunctional masks and statues.
Amongst them are the Bansonyi
masks (Serpent headdress that embodies the snake spirit Mantsho-na-tsol).
The "bansonyi" lives in the sacred forest and only appears
during initiation ceremonies when young men graduate as initiates. The
mask can also be used for a wide variety of functions namely during
funerals, to detect evil forces and cure sterility.
Present day uses of the masks are
mainly during initiation ceremonies for both male and female initiates.
Maskers are clad in raffia costumes and carry the large geometric
designed mask adorned with feathers, ribbons and bells on their heads.
The mask embodies the spirit of the snake and only adolescent males
learn the secrets of the snake spirit during initiation camps.
About 50 000 Baga inhabitants live
along the coastal lagoons in the southern part of Guinea. They believe
in one God that is assisted by the male and female spirits. The Baga of Upper Guinea are divided into independent
villages linked together only by the Simo.
The Baga also makes use of the Anok mask (bird
heads), during harvest time and or funerary rites, The head, is hollowed
out, has lozenge forms through which small horns filled with a magical
substance is fitted.