Guinea and Guinea-Bissau

The 25,000 Landuman are settled in Guinea. They are farmers and cultivate corn, millet, rice, and peanuts. A supreme chief has authority over village chiefs; inheritance passes through the matrilinear line. The initiation of young people remains a tightly guarded secret. The Landuman worship the spirits of the dead. The art of this tribe includes two remarkable statues. One is a rather abstract numbe mask in animal-head form. The numbe mask is the only one mask they are known to use. Horizontal, it is comprised of three elements: an ovoid head, an elongated snout, and a set of horns on top of the skull. This abstract, stylized composition suggests a buffalo. It has also been said to represent a narwhal or a dolphin. According to one source, its function would be to protect an enclosure. The other statue is a carving in the shape of python, which probably is connected with the snake cult, usually associated with fertility.

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