Peoples & Societies


The Baga peoples, who reside in villages along the coast of Guinea and now number 100,000, were once divided into small villages. Each village was governed by a council of elders, who derived their powers from specialized knowledge only they possessed and from their interactions with spiritual beings. The religious regalia and ritual objects used by elders in ceremonies and male initiation rites were central to Baga artistic traditions, which persisted for several hundred years. A variety of religious and sociopolitical disturbances in the 1950s, however, have gradually caused the Baga culture, and thus artistic production, to disappear in most areas.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 300.

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