African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bembe mask

Bembe mask (N° 22088)

This African mask probably Bembe, long and narrow, displays large concave bluish rings and a skullcap headdress. This small mask is lined with perforations on the contours in order to fix the traditional raffia adornment.
Height on base: 39 cm.
The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba branch that left the Congo in the 18th century to settle near Tanzania and Burundi. Their society and artistic tendency are marked by the influence of neighboring ethnic groups in the Lake Tanganyika region, the Lega, the Buyu, etc. Indeed, like the Lega, the Bembe had a Bwami association responsible for initiation and structuring society, but although the Bwami was exclusive among the Lega, other associations coexisted among the Bembe, such as the Elanda and Alunga companies. Within the Bwami, objects of art such as masks and statues had the role of helping aspirants to Kindi, the highest grade, to remember the moral rules that they had to know and apply. . Bembe masks, evocations of forest spirits, were used during the tribal ritual of the male Alunga society, exercising social control over the clan, and responsible for public dances and ceremonies preceding the hunt.  

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OriginEx-collection suisse
EthnyBembe
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm25
Width11 cm
Weight0.72 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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