African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kwele Mask
Kwele Ekuk Zoomorphic Mask (N° 17049)
A mask of contrasting colours symbolizing the light and foresight needed to fight the forces of witchcraft, it embodies the antelope or duinker, the main game of the kwele region. The snout does not need a flat end that allows the object to be placed. Powder patina, discreet remnants of burgundy pigments.
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According to the presence of horns and their layout, the masks are called pipibudze, Ekuku zokou, etc. and are associated with the ancestors or spirits of the forest, " ekuk ".Tribe of the Kota group, the Kwélé, Bakwélé , live in forest on the northern border of the Republic of Congo. They live on hunting, agriculture and metallurgy. Practicing the cult called Bwété borrowed from the Ngwyes, which was accompanied by obligatory initiation rites, they used at the end of the ceremonies in addition to zoomorphic masks of elephant or gorilla, masks ekuk evoking the antelope whose horns meet in a loop under the chin. The blood of the antelope was also used in Kwélé for therapeutic purposes. The Beete takes place over several days, culminating in the consumption of a medicinal dish that has been activated by the energy of the dance and the songs of the Ekuk masks and the villagers. The Kwele produce rare statues related to initiation rites.
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