African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Vili mask
Vili mask (N° 21652)
This African mask, of Vili inspiration, takes elements from the white masks of the Punu. At the top, the end of what was a hairstyle divided into shells. The face has checkerboard keloids.
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Abraded matte patina.
Present along the Gabonese coast, the Vili broke away from the Kongo kingdom in the 16th century and the Loango kingdom became a powerful state. Most of them are now urbanized, but they still belong to traditional associations that depend on ancestor worship, such as the Mbouiti or the Bieri. Like the Kongo group, in order to protect themselves against witchcraft and various plagues, they produce a wide variety of magical ritual objects of the nkisi type. Their masks are used by the association Ndunga or Djembe, but also for the funerals of dignitaries and during traditional initiations. Still others are reserved for diviners.
The Vili, the Lâri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembé, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kôngo formed the Kôngo group, led by the king ntotela. Their kingdom reached its peak in the 16th century with the ivory and copper trade and the slave trade. With the same beliefs and traditions, they produced a statuary with a codified gesture related to their worldview.
Litt. Masks of Gabon" ed. Sillages
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