African art > Mask > Kubait Mask
Large mask Ngady mwaash Kuba (N° 18853)
Induction and funeral rites in African art
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Wearing the headdress of the Kuba queens behind a shaved forehead, this very large mask is accompanied by polychrome geometric patterns, some of which, oblique, symbolize the tears of the repudiated sister. Pearls inlaid on wide bands underline the features. Once a common currency, cowries refer to wealth and social status. A thick raffia chin strap borders the lower part of the face, while an embroidered raffia textile, covering the headdress, comes back in panel on the back of the mask.
More than twenty types of masks are used among the Kuba, with meanings and functions that vary from one group to another. Ritual ceremonies were the occasion to display decorative arts and masks to honor the spirit of the deceased or to honor the king.
Three types of masks have been associated with dances that take place in the royal enclosure: the first, called Moshambwooy, represents Woot, the founder of the Bushoong, the hero of the culture. The second, known as Nady Amwaash (Ngaady Un Mwash), embodies the wife/sister of Woot, a character that would have been introduced in order to give more importance to the role of women. The third mask is called Bwoom. As a character, Bwoom has been variously interpreted as a prince (the king's younger brother), a man of the people, a pygmy, even a subversive element at the royal court.
For info on the Kuba Ngady mask mwaash.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
|Material(s)||wood, plant fibre, raphia, perles et cauris|
|Estimated dating||2ème halfxx°|
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