African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Mbole Mask
Mbole Mask (N° 19777)
With a flat structure, this Mbole tribal mask has a forehead engraved with ribs. The features are particularly discreet, with incisions and a low relief for the nose. These African masks are used during funerals of Lilwa dignitaries or by the blacksmith during circumcision rituals. Height on base: 43 cm.
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The province of Lualaba had several ethnic groups with similar associations. The Mbole and the Yela are known for their statues embodying, according to D. Biebuck, of hanged men, named ofika. The lilwa , an association with dogmatic initiation rites, had a custom of judging and sentencing to hanging those guilty of infractions of the imposed rules. These offenses ranged from murder to adultery to breaking the secrecy encircling the lilwa. Disgraced, the bodies of convicts were given no burial and were buried in the forest.
"100 People of Zaire and their sculpture" M.L. Felix