African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Hemba Mask

Small mask Hemba Ibombo ya soho (N° 14996)

The Hemba are a subgroup of the Luba ethnic group living in southeastern Dr. Congo, east of the Lualaba River. They are best known for their statuary representing chiefs. The pieces called soko mutu , suku muntu , (from Swahili," man's brother", and KiHemba, ibombo ya soho : "face de singe") belonged to the cult of ancestors and existed in two forms: on the one hand large masks used in ritual dances, and on the other hand, small masks or statuettes used as gifts, were hung in the boxes as protective amulets. These masks have recently been renamed mwisi gwa so'o , which expresses a concept that it is a chimpanzee spirit that would be embodied in the mask. The asymmetrical, split eyes are separated from a ribbed nasal appendage in a central extension of the eyebrow arch. A large slit evoking a smile has been set up according to the contours of the jaw.
Total height on a base: 39 cm
Satin patina. Slight gaps on the posterior contour of the mask. Desication cracks.
Source: Art and life in Africa , C D. Roy. and "The other face" ed. Adam Biro.  

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Origincollection suisse
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm20
Depth8 cm
Width15 cm
Weight0.50 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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