African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kwele mask
Kwele mask (N° 22850)
Ex-French African art collection.
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Duotone for this African mask of the Kwele type which comes in the form of a panel composed of a central face. These masks from Gabon with a concave, heart-shaped face, have almond-shaped eyes and a triangular nose. Generally concealed, the mouth is here in the form of a thin incision conferring a smiling physiognomy. According to the shape adopted by the turn of the mask, it is called pipibudzé, Ekuku zokou, etc... and is associated with the ancestors or the spirits of the forest, "ekuk". Tribe of the Kota group, the Kwélé, Bakwélé, live in the forest on the northern border of the Republic of Congo. They live from 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 the ekuk masks evoking the antelope whose horns meet in a loop under the chin. The blood of the antelope was also used among the Kwélé for therapeutic purposes. They produce rare statues linked to the initiation rites of young people.
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