| HEADDRESS BAGA SNAKE; BASONYI
Mid 20th Century
|Baga snake headpiece can be up to 260 cm high and typically display,
polychrome decoration and decoration and sometimes have eyes inset with glass.
It is an emblem of BASONYI, men's secret association. This headpiece, also
called basonyi, presents a python standing upright. Basonyi lives in the sacred
forest and emerges when it is time to begin the boys' coming-of-age rites. As
receptacle for the most powerful spirit, Bansongyi is believed to be the
strongest adversary of sorcery and destructive forces that could endanger the
well-being of the village. Bansongyi also appears at the funeral celebrations of
the most important members of the community. They were held on the shoulder of
a dancer. There are also other masks combining human and animal features.