A fine traditional Kenyan Dayak beaded baby carrier or Ba.
The purpose of the Kenyan baby carrier is to protect the baby against evil spirits while it is carried on its mother's back, hence the fierce spirit figure on the back panel.
These baby carriers are still in use today where custom life is strong, and this beautifully beaded late 20th century example is lined with printed trade cloth covering a traditional basketwork frame fixed to a wooden base.
The beaded back panel, called the Aban, is made of fine, small beads and depicts a central protective spirit with a large white spirit face on either side to reinforce its power. This example also has a layer of aluminium foil under the beaded panel to further bedazzle and distract any lurking evil spirits. The row of cowrie shell crosses running along the top indicates that this carrier was made for a girl baby as these shells are usually a feminine symbol.
Height 36 cm / 14 inches, top around the curve 46 cm / 18 inches, width of beaded aban 33 x 28 cm/ 13 x 11 inches.