African art > Mask > Salampasu Mask

Salampasu Mukinka Mask (N° 12750)

This African Mask of the Salampasu type, covered with a network of copper strips, has a broad bulbous forehead with a non-existent eyebrow line. The almond eyes end in point towards the circular ears, the nasal volume gradually widening towards the cheeks in the center of which the slightly upturned nasal tip reveals the holes of the nostrils. A simply hollowed-out rectangle acts as a gaping mouth in which the teeth are carved. The top cap consists of black-tinted wicker balls. The rim of the mask is lined with perforations in order to attach the raffia adornment to conceal the dancer during ceremonies related to the society of warriors and initiation rites. At funerals, masks could also be displayed in connection with the deceased's previous initiations, and in many cases for compensation. The power of some masks is so feared that their names alone can cause women and children to flee.
Living of hunting and agriculture, warrior people, the Salampasu form a tribe of the Lulua group and are settled between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, east of the Kasai River. They are surrounded to the west and south of the Tschokwe and Lunda, and to the north and east of the Kete and Lwalwa. A hierarchy of masks, simple wooden masks kasangu and copper-covered masks mukinka , was associated with the warrior society mungongo (pl. bangongo). The wearing of these masks depended on a large contribution of cattle, beverages, or other material goods on the part of the aspirant who was initiated to an esoteric knowledge on the part of the other mask wearers. ( Africa , Prestel)  

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Originex-collection suisse
EthnySalampasu
CountryRDC
Material(s)wood, copper, plant fibre
Height50
Width27
Weight0.80 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1950
Socle includedYes

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