The most important of the Baga art forms is the great mask, D’mba or Nimba.
It represents the mother of fertility, protector of pregnant women, and presides over all
agricultural ceremonies. The dancer, wearing a full raffia costume, carries the mask on his
shoulders, looking out through holes between the breasts. In use, such masks rise more
than eight feet above the ground; they often weigh more than eighty pounds. Most show a
standardized pattern of facial scarification.
” Nimba is the joy of living; it is the promise of abundant harvest”
The Baga Nimba, or D’mba, represents the abstraction of an ideal of the female role in
society. The Nimba is essentailly viewed as the vision of woman at her zenith of power,
beauty, and affective presence; rather than a goddess or spirit. The typical Nimba form
illustrates a woman that has been fertile, given birth to several children, and nurtured
them to adulthood.