African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Hemba Mask
Hemba Mask (N° 24561)
A protruding, circular jawbone projects under a large human-like nose. Fascinating by its structure, this anthropo-zoomorphic mask would belong to the category of Soko Muntu, animal masks relating to monkeys.
Height on base: 43 cm.
Two types of Hemba masks have been identified: that of an anthropomorphic type with regular features, whose pointed chin recalls statuary, and those evoking monkeys, the soko muntu, and whose functions remain little known, but which probably belonged, according to J.Kerchache, to the bugabo and bambudye secret societies. The smallest copies (about twenty centimeters) would have been carried by hand during rites intended for the protection of the home and for fertility. Besides the janiform kabeja statuettes, the statuettes of male ancestors, guarded by the hereditary chief of each clan, the fumu mwalo, are called songiti .
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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