African art > Mask > Lulua Mask

Bena Lulua polychrome mask (N° 17565)

Monegasque African art collection.
This frontal crest-capped African face mask adopts the canons of traditional statuary, as well as curvilinear motifs associated with ethnic scarifications. According to Rik Ceyssens in Congo Masks (p.156 . . . M.L.Félix) and as evidenced by the sketches of H.M.Lemme who accompanied Frobenius on his travels in Congo, this model of loop scarifications was then widespread in various Luluwa subgroups in 1905. The Bakwa also had this type of tribal scar. A handle was to make it easier to use. These masks are used during circumcision rites and at the funerals of notables. Abrasions of the matte patina.
The Lulua, or Béna Lulua from West Africa, settled in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their caste-based social structure is similar to that of the Luba. They produced few masks, but especially statues of ancestors representing the ideal warrior, mulalenga wa nkashaama, as well as the head of the Leopard Society and statuettes mbulenga related to the spirits of nature. Despite Kalamba Mukwenge's attempt at the end of the 19th century to eradicate traditional cults by using autodafés, the religious system was maintained, such as the fertility cult tshibola.
(Black African Tribal Art. JB Bacquart Umbangu, Art of Congo at the Royal Belgian Cogo Museum Ed. Cultura.)  

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OriginCollection monégasque
Countryrdc ex zaire
Weight0.50 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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