African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bembé Mask
Bembé Echawokaba hem mask (N° 14171)
This African mask was used during the tribal ritual of the male society Kalunga , Alunga , exercising social control over the clan, and responsible for public dances and ceremonies before the hunt. A hem mask embodying the god Alunga, it has four high and wide concave orbits with a conical pupil in relief. Growths, on which were attached feathers, evoke small ears or horns. Its circular base is also equipped with perforations in order to be able to fix the raffia adornment to conceal its wearer. A vocation of a spirit of the forest, this mask was preserved in the sacred caves and it was during the feasts associated with hunting and the cults of ancestors that it was exhibited. Flat masks with the same concave orbits also appeared during the circumcision ceremonies of the Bwami . Dry, crusty skate, velvety. Localized abrasions. The bembe group is a Luba branch that is said to have left Congo in the 18th century. Their society and artistic tendency are influenced by their neighbours in the Lake Tanganyika region, the Lega, the Buyu, etc. Indeed, like the Lega, the Bembe had an association bwami responsible for the initiation and structuring for society but while the bwami was exclusive among the Lega, other associations coexisted among the Bembe.
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