African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kumu mask
Circular and embellished with raffia, this mask is largely hollowed out at eye level, nostrils and mouth under a massive forehead. The jaw forms a slight protrusion.
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Irregular speckled surface.
The Kumu , Bakumu, Komo, live mainly in the North-East and in the center of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their Bantu language is Komo or Kikomo. Several ethnic groups are closely intertwined, endowed with similar associations: the Mbole, the Yela, the Lengola, and the Metoko. Their artistic production also presents great similarities with that of the Metoko and the Lengola. Their divination masks were exhibited during the closing ceremonies of the initiation and circumcision of the young people of the nkunda society.
It is indeed in the Maniema region around the Lualaba River and the Great Lakes that Lega sculpture has largely exerted its influence. A costume made of bark textiles and plant fibers concealed the wearer. Biebuck would have noted a great similarity between the rituals accompanying the appearance of the Kumu masks and those of the muminia masks of the Lega.
Lit. : "The soul of Africa" S. Diakonoff; "Art and Life in Africa" CD Roy.
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