African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bembe mask

Bembe mask (N° 22466)

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 preceding the hunt. Helm mask embodying the god Alunga, it has four high and wide concave eye sockets with a conical pupil in relief. Growths, on which feathers were fixed, evoke small ears or horns.
Evocation of a spirit of the forest, this mask was kept in sacred caves and it was during festivals associated with hunting and ancestor cults that it was exhibited. Flat masks with the same concave eye sockets also appeared during Bwami circumcision ceremonies. Grainy, velvety dry patina. Cracks and erosions. The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba branch that left the Congo in the 18th century. Their society and artistic tendency are marked by the influence of their neighbors 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 if the bwami was exclusive among the Lega, other associations coexisted among the Bembe.  

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OriginEx-collection belge
EthnyBembe
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm33
Width23 cm
Weight2.90 Kg
Socle inclusOptional

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