Among the African entertainment masks of the West Pende, zoomorphic masks are worn by costumed dancers depicting the gaits and behaviors of the animals they embody.
Matte patina, colored highlights. Crack in the outline and slight losses.
Height on base: 34 cm.
The Western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the Eastern settled on the banks of the Kasaï downstream from Tshikapa. The influences of neighboring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba and Salempasu imprinted on their large tribal art sculpture. Within this diversity, the Mbuya masks, realistic, produced every ten years, take on a festive function, and embody different characters, including the chief, the diviner and his wife, the prostitute, the possessed, etc... The masks of initiation and those of power, the minganji, represent the ancestors and occur successively during the same ceremonies, agricultural festivals, initiation and circumcision rituals mukanda, enthronement of the chief.
The Eastern Pende also use animal masks for circumcision ceremonies.
Source: Kerchache, "African Art".
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