all photos by the author except where otherwise noted

Rïm is a diffused ritual object created and employed throughout the Upper Guinea Coast. It is found among the Nalú people and sometimes referred to as Mnimba Kawala, meaning “resting Nimba.” Rïm also appears among the Landuma (who call it Tabakän) and the Buluñits. Finally, Rïm has also been documented among the two northernmost dialect groups of the Baga: the Sitem call this ritual object Tönkö or Tönköngba and the Mandori refer to it as Kañkäbälá or a-Tshol-ña-Bâpsë, which translates as “the medicine that lies on its stomach”.1

The epigraph by renowned African art historian Frederick Lamp is important for two reasons. First, he alludes to the context-specific multivalent uses of Rïm as a sculptural tradition, shrine piece, spiritual residence, and masquerade found among the peoples of the Upper Guinea Coast of West Africa. This claim suggests the fluid nature...

You do not currently have access to this content.