Baga (Bagga), Guinea & Guinea-Bissau
Female Nimba Figure. The Baga people, 60,000 in total,
occupy the northern coast of Guinea and the southern coast of Guinea-Bissau.
They grow rice in the marshy area flooded six months of the year, during which time the
only way to get around is by a dugout canoe. The men also fish and grow cola nuts. They
believe in a single god who is assisted by a male and a female spirit. For the Baga
people, Nimba is an abstract concept encompassing all that is good and beautiful in the
world. This Nimba figure shares the same profiles as the famous Nimba feminine headdresses
that perform at Baga weddings and on other joyous occasions. Although the Nimba masquerade
is always female, male Nimba figures also exist, suggesting that the ideal that Nimba
represents crosses gender lines.