African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kumu mask

Kumu mask (N° 22097)

Among primitive art masks, this African mask named Nsembu was produced in male-female pairs, and was used by the society of soothsayers Nkunda within the clans living in the north of the Ituri region.
This example is distinguished by the unexpected geometric relief depicting the nose. The flat surface is dotted with polychrome dotted lines, alluding to the animal world and the patterns that adorn the bodies during initiation rites.
Matte patina. Desication cracking and abrasions.
Height on base: 35 cm.
The Kumu, Bakumu, Komo, live mainly in the North-East and in the center of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their Bantu language is Komo or Kikomo. Several ethnic groups are closely intertwined, endowed with similar associations: the Mbole, the Yela, the Lengola, and the Metoko. Their artistic production also presents great similarities with that of the Metoko and the Lengola. Their divination masks were exhibited during the closing ceremonies of the initiation and circumcision of the young people of the nkunda society. It is indeed in the Maniema region around the Lualaba River and the Great Lakes that Lega sculpture has largely exerted its influence. A costume made of bark textiles and plant fibers concealed the wearer. Biebuck would have noted a great similarity between the rituals accompanying the appearance of the Kumu masks and those of the muminia masks of the Lega.  

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OriginCollection belge
EthnyKumu
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm22
Width17 cm
Weight0.66 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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