Shallow, this specimen is distinguished by its close-set eyes separated by a long nose, and a projecting mouth. Clear matte patina encrusted with white clay residue. Erosions.
The Hemba are a subgroup of the Luba ethnic group living in southeastern DR Congo, east of the Lualaba River. They are especially famous for their statuary representing chiefs. The pieces referred to as soko mutu, suku muntu, (from Swahili, "brother of a man", and KiHemba, ibombo ya soho:" monkey face") belonged to the cult of the ancestors and existed in two forms: on the one hand large masks used during ritual dances, and on the other hand, small masks or statuettes serving as gifts, were hung in the huts as protective amulets.
These masks have recently been renamed mwisi gwa so'o, which expresses a concept that a chimpanzee spirit is embodied in the mask.
Source: Art and life in Africa, C D. Roy. and "The other face" ed. Adam Biro.
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