African art > African mask > Yombe Mask
Kongo Yombe polychrome mask (N° 19093)
Ex-collection British African art.
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This African mask was the prerogative of the nganga, priest-devin. His mediumistic abilities, which the Kongo thought they were promoting by taking hallucinogenic substances, are revealed by the glassy look on black pupils. This type of mask was named ngobudi in reference to something frightening, terrorizing. These mediating masks, also present in initiatory processes, were used by fetishists during healing rituals. At the same time, they were also used to identify individuals who, through their actions, could disturb the harmony of the community.
In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between the current DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came into 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. The king, also known as 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 part of the Republic of Congo and in Angola. Their statuary includes remarkable maternity wards.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Estimated dating||2ème halfxx°|
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