African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Salampasu mask

Salampasu mask (N° 20370)

This African mask, decorated with numerous wicker balls, is linked to the ceremonies and initiation rites of the warrior society. It also appeared at funerals in connection with the previous initiations of the deceased, and in many cases, in return for payment. The power of certain masks was so feared that their name alone caused women and children to flee. These masks are distinguished by their bulbous foreheads, blunt noses and mouths revealing cut teeth. This fierce-looking example stands out for its large forehead and protruding tubular ears.
Living from hunting and agriculture, warlike people, 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 by the Tschokwe and Lunda, and to the north and east by 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 livestock, drink, or other material goods from the aspirant who was initiated into esoteric knowledge from other mask wearers. (Africa, Prestel)  

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OriginCollection belge
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, metal, plant fibre
Height cm70
Width29 cm
Weight1.35 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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