African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Metoko mask
Metoko, Mitoko, Nkudu mask (N° 20955)
A somewhat dazed physiognomy for this African mask of the Metoko , Mituku , usually displayed at the funerals of Bukota members.
Light brown patina encrusted with kaolin.
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Height on base: 38 cm. Cracks from desiccation.
The Mbole, Yela, Lengola and Metoko ethnic groups, whose iniatic societies have similarities, live on the left bank of the Zaire River, in the Lualaba region of former Katanga. The plastic works of these groups also have similarities.
Their society ,the Butoka , welcoming both men and women, is the equivalent of the Bwami association of the Lega. The sculptures, often geometric and decorated with colored patches, played a role in the context of initiation ceremonies, and were then placed on the graves of high rank initiates. Each of these figures had a name, as in lega traditions, referring to behaviors symbolized by characters.
The two higher ranks, nkumi and kasimbi ,enjoyed the prerogative of holding certain objects of worship.
( ref: Art ande Life in Africa, C.D.Roy , "L'Art africain" Kerchache , Paudrat, Stephan.)
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