African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kongo Mask
Kongo Yombe or Vili Mask (N° 19793)
This African mask, offering naturalistic features, was used by the nganga, priest-devin. The sculptor has highlighted the bone structure of a face with prominent cheekbones.
Mediator mask, also present in the initiation processes, it was also used by the fetishist during healing rituals. At the same time, it could be used to identify individuals who, by their actions, could disturb the harmony of the community.
Light brown patina, ochre residue. Height on base (including the headdress) : 68 cm.
In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo , settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between present-day DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese made contact with the Kongo and converted their king to Christianity. Although monarchical, the Kongo political system had a democratic aspect because the king was actually placed at the head of the kingdom following an election held by a council of tribal governors. This king, also called ntotela, controlled the appointment of court and provincial officials.
Belonging to the Kongo group, the Yombe are established on the West African coast, in the southwestern Republic of Congo and in Angola. Their statuary includes remarkable maternities.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Material(s)||wood, plumes, raphia|
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