African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lulua mask

Bena Lulua mask with handle (N° 20563)

This Luluwa mask is associated with circumcision rites and funerals of dignitaries.
Curvilinear designs and lozenge motifs alternate on the surface.
According to Rik Ceyssens in "Congo Masks" (p.156 . ed. M.L.Félix) and as attested by the sketches of H.M.Lemme who accompanied Frobenius on his travels in the Congo, this pattern of looped scarification was widespread among various Luluwa subgroups in 1905. The Bakwa also sported this type of tribal scarring. Satin black patina.
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It was in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo that the Lulua , or Bena Lulua ,from West Africa settled. Their social structure, based on castes, is similar to that of the Luba. They produced few masks, but mostly statues of ancestors representing the ideal warrior, mulalenga wa nkashaama, as well as the chief of the Leopard society and mbulenga statuettes related to nature spirits. Despite Kalamba Mukwenge's attempt, in the late nineteenth century, to eradicate traditional cults by means of burning, the religious system continued, such as the fertility cult tshibola . (Tribal art of black Africa. JB Bacquart; "Umbangu, Art du Congo au Musée Royal du Cogo Belge" ed. Cultura.  

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OriginEx-collection belge
EthnyLulua
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height41
Width24
Weight0.70 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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