African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kuba mask
Kuba Bushoong Nibita mask (N° 21480)
Short ringed horns point to the top of this Bushoong mask, a Kuba subgroup. It has half-closed eyelids, a triangular nose with a raised rib, and a protruding toothed mouth. Alternating diamond-shaped friezes are found on the surface.
The cut of the headdress also illustrates the Kuba headdresses that are partially shaved at the temples. A specificity: the motifs in relief representing horns, which frame the face. This mask is associated with initiation ceremonies.
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The Kuba kingdom was founded in the 16th century by the Bushoong who are still ruled by a king today. It is the most prolific group in western Kasai. In southern Kuba country, at the confluence of the Kasai and Lulua rivers, live the Biombo , whose traditional masked ceremonies bear similarities to those of their neighbors.
More than twenty types of tribal masks are used among the Kuba or "people of lightning," with meanings and functions that vary from group to group. Ritual ceremonies continued to be an opportunity to display decorative arts and masks to honor the spirit of the deceased or to honor the king. Most of these masks embody nature spirits, guarantors of fertility and fecundity, named the ngesh .
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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