African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bakwele Mask
Masque facial Kwele, Bakwele (N° 14662)
A longitudinal ridge shares this board, oval mask with three pairs of crescent arched eyes, the central pair of which is incised for vision. It forms a stylized, abstract variant of the mask at "trompe". The dark patina is chipped, shards of wood are to be noted. These gabonese masks with a concave face, in the heart, have almond eyes and a triangular nose. Depending on the presence of horns and their arrangement, the masks referring to the antelope are called pipibudze, Ekuku zokou, etc. and are associated with ancestors or forest spirits. Tribe of the Kota group, the Kwélé , Bakwélé , live in forest on the northern border of the Republic of Congo. They live on hunting, agriculture and metallurgy. Practicing the cult called Bwété borrowed from the Ngwyes, which was accompanied by obligatory initiation rites, they used at the end of the ceremonies the masks ekuk evoking the antelope whose horns meet in a loop under the chin. The blood of the antelope was also used in Kwélé for therapeutic purposes. They produce rare statues related to the initiation rites of young people.
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