African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Hemba Mask
Masque Hemba Market Muntu (N° 19765)
The spirit of a primate is embodied in this African Hemba mask with a wide grin. Dark patina, residual crusty inlays.
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Only two types of Hemba masks have been identified: an anthropomorphic type with regular features, whose pointed chin is reminiscent of statuary, and those depicting monkeys, the soko mutu, whose functions remain little known, but which probably belonged, according to J. Kerchache, to the bugabo and bambudye secret societies. The smallest specimens (about 20 cm) would have been carried in the hand during rites intended for the protection of the home and for fertility. In addition to the janiform kabeja statuettes, the statues of male ancestors, kept by the hereditary chief of each clan, the fumu mwalo, are called songiti.
The Hemba settled on the vast plains of the right bank of the Lualaba in the eighteenth century. Their society is composed of large clans descended from a common ancestor. The discovery of Hemba statuary dates from decolonization and has only recently been differentiated from that of the Luba.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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