African art > Mask > Lwalwa Mask
Lwalwa Mask (N° 11257)
The aesthetics of African art Lwalwa.
This is near the Kasai River that the Lwalwa live, between Angola and Zaire. Historically with a matrilineal society, the Lwalwa, after having been influenced by Luba and Songy, adopted a patrilineal system within their rudimentary political and social organization. The nkaki male mask, carved in mulela wood, is one of four types of masks produced by the privileged caste formed by their sculptors. These craftsmen, according to their merits, can become chefs and organize dances, including the balango, during which acrobatics are performed by young dancers. These masks are then displayed, or worn during initiation ceremonies, or to soothe the spirits after an unsuccessful hunt.
A conical headdress with geometric patterns overcomes a protruding triangular volume. The whole is the upper part of a concave stylized face. At its center is an imposing triangular nose of the same length as the tubular mouth and the pointed chin. Two thin horizontal slits, and an orifice under the nose, allow vision.
Slightly grainy and satiny brown inpatine.