African art > Mask > Lwalwa Mask
Lwalwa Nkaki Mask (N° 14769)
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pure symmetry for this African mask where a conical hairstyle incised with geometric patterns overcomes an imposing rectangular nose. The look, stretched, is made up of rectangular spaces highlighted by grooves. The chin ends in a point under a geometric mouth. The hollow of the ears is encased with red ochre pigments. Velvety light brown patina.
It is near the Kasai River that the Lwalwa live, between Angola and Zaire. Historically having a matrilineal society, the Lwalwa, after being influenced luba and songye, adopted a patrilineal system within their rudimentary political and social organization. The male mask nkaki, carved in wood mulela, is one of four types of masks produced by the privileged caste formed by their sculptors: These craftsmen, according to their merits, can become leaders and organize dances, including the balango, in 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.
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