African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lele mask
Lele mask (N° 21556)
Extended with a flattened beard, this African mask is free of inlays and colored patterns widely used among the Kuba and neighboring groups. The ample eyeballs are lined with holes and decorative geometric patterns are chiseled into the surface.
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The Lele , neighbors of the Tschokwe and Pende, live in the western part of the Kuba kingdom at the confluence of the Kasai and Bashilele rivers and share common cultural characteristics with the Bushoong of Kuba country. Both groups adorn their prestige objects with the same iconography, consisting of faces with elaborate headdresses and geometric decorative patterns. Lele society, led by a " nymi" king, includes three classes, that of the Tundu or war chiefs, the Batshwa ("those who reject the Tundu authority") and the Wongo called after the neighboring ethnic group. The ritual ceremonies are under the authority of the elders, chiefs of each village who hold the secrets of medicinal plants. These elders once formed, with the parents of twins, spiritual intermediaries, the bangang brotherhood responsible for the initIation of the young. The carver is responsible for extracting palm wine, he also weaves raffia. He produces the ritual cups in which the palm wine is consumed to conclude an agreement.
Source: "Kuba", ed. 5continents, Binkley and Darish, "L'art africain", Mazenod.
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