African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lualua Mask
Lwalwa Nkaki Mask (N° 19941)
Succession of salient elements for this African mask which sees the angle of a conical headdress punctuate that of the forehead. The gaze is incised with rectangular holes. The mouth, in projection, dominates the curved point of the lower part of the face. Brown patina, matt, rubbed with kaolin.
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The Lwalwa live near the Kasai River, between Angola and Zaire. Historically having a matrilineal society, the Lwalwa after undergoing Luba and Songye influence, adopted a patrilineal system within their rudimentary political and social organization.
The male mask nkaki, carved from mulela wood, is one of four types of masks produced by the privileged caste formed by their carvers: These artisans, according to their merits, can become chiefs and organize dances, including the balango, during which acrobatics are performed by young dancers.
These masks are then exhibited, or worn during initiation ceremonies, or to appease the spirits after an unsuccessful hunt.
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