African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bembe mask
Bembe mask (N° 20672)
The mask opposite could be Bembe, despite the facial striations typical of the Teke, Buma (Mboma) or Yanzi. The large concave eyeballs are indeed one of the specificities of the Bembe. Nevertheless, this is an interesting piece with a beautiful patina of use, satin, slightly abraded. Place of harvest unknown.
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The Bembe ethnic group is a branch of the Luba who left the Congo in the 18th century to settle near Tanzania and Burundi. Their society and artistic tendencies are marked by the influence of neighboring ethnic groups in the Lake Tanganyika region, the Lega, the Buyu, etc. Indeed, like the Lega, the Bembe had a Bwami association responsible for initiation and structuring society, but although the Bwami was exclusive among the Lega, other associations coexisted among the Bembe, such as the Elanda and Alunga societies.
In the Bwami, art objects such as masks and statues were used to help aspirants to the highest rank, Kindi, to remember the moral rules that they had to know and apply. Bembe masks, evocations of forest spirits, were used during the tribal ritual of the male society Alunga, exercising social control over the clan, and responsible for public dances and ceremonies preceding the hunt.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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