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Bidjogo Analysis Essay

The Bissagos Islands on the Atlantic coast of Guinea-Bissau are home to the Bidjogo peoples. Similar to other African peoples, the Bidjogo possess unique forms of art. The dugn’be “the ox raised in the village” mask is a rather intriguing piece of art. The mask is commonly used in initiation ceremonies. This mask, made in the second quarter of the twentieth century, is an excellent example of how wonderful African art is. The piece is 15 ? by 19 by 9 inches. Many would consider the art life-sized, or slightly smaller. A wide variety of materials were used in its construction. Although much of the bull is comprised of wood, elements such as glass, cow horns, fiber, and pigment have been specifically arranged to mimic a real bull. The majority…

Belligerent villages began stealing stock from one another, and foreign traders started borrowing cattle on credit. The occurrences only stiffened existing tension generated from social and political issues. When French sailors refused to pay an important debt to the Bidyogo, chaos ensued. The sailors were taken as prisoners by the Bidyogo people. The French responded by attacking the inhabitants of Caravela, one of the Bissagos Islands. Practically all of the villages were burned to the ground. Tension would not deteriorate until the French demanded a treaty from the king. Whose…

Each Bidyogo member of society is said to have come from one of four legendary families: Oracuma, Oraga, Ogubane, and Ominca. Descendants of the same families allegedly belong to the same “Generation.” Each of the Bissagos Islands are known for having Bidyogo members from the same “Generation.” A majority of the islands are represented by an elder-selected chief. Aside from the different “Generations,” the society is broken down into a hierarchal grade system known as Manratche. The grading system is used in the initiation process. The headdresses and costumes society play a role in signifying the various age classes in the Bidyogo. The three age grades among the Bidyogo people are canhoca, cabaro, and the camabi. Canhoca is for the adolescents in society. Those in the canhoca are leaving childhood and beginning to focus more on the community. Lightweight headdresses are worn, which typically depict a fish or…

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