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

Bembe mask (N° 23317)

This African mask bears huge eye sockets associated with the perceptive qualities of the owl. The mouth and the nose form discreet geometric projections. These masks appeared during Bwami ceremonies. Matt patina, slight erosions and cracks.
Height on base: 50 cm.
The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba branch that would have left the Congo in the 18th century. Their society and artistic tendency are marked by the influence of their 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 while the bwami was exclusive among the Lega, other associations coexisted among the Bembe. Evocation of a spirit of the forest, this tribal mask was kept in sacred caves and it was during festivals associated with hunting and ancestor cults that it was exhibited.
He also appeared during the Bwami circumcision ceremonies.  

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Originex-collection belge
EthnyBembe
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm37
Width24 cm
Weight1.38 Kg
Socle includedYes

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