African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Hemba Mask

Hemba Mask (N° 24277)

Small hemba/luba mask of the anthropomorphic type, whose carefully chiseled facial features arise from a relatively flat volume. Height on base: 29 cm. Desication crack, brown patina.
Only two types of Hemba masks have been identified: that of an anthropomorphic type with regular features, whose pointed chin recalls statuary, and those depicting monkeys, the soko mutu, and whose functions remain little known, but which belonged probably, according to J.Kerchache, to the bugabo and bambudye secret societies. The smallest copies (about twenty centimeters) would have been carried by hand during rites intended for the protection of the home and for fertility. Besides the janiform kabeja statuettes, the statues of male ancestors, guarded by the hereditary chief of each clan, the fumu mwalo, are called songiti. It was during the 18th century that the Hemba settled on the vast plains of the right bank of the Lualaba. Their society consists of large clans descended from a common ancestor. The discovery of Hemba statuary dates from decolonization and has only recently been differentiated from that of the Luba.  

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EthnyHemba
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm19
Width11 cm
Weight0.39 Kg
Socle includedYes

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