Statuette featuring a dancer from the Pende Minganji masquerade from Zaire, wearing his full raffia fishnet costume. Léon de Sousberghe identified two types of masks, the minganji associated with male society and the mbuya masks associated with the village, with a few exceptions.
The Western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the Eastern settled on the banks of the Kasaï downstream from Tshikapa. The influences of neighboring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba and Salempasu imprinted on their large tribal art sculpture. Within this diversity, the Mbuya masks, realistic, produced every ten years, take on a festive function, and embody different characters, including the chief, the diviner and his wife, the prostitute, the possessed, etc... The masks of initiation and those of power, the minganji such as our example, represent the ancestors and occur successively during the same ceremonies, agricultural festivals, initiation rituals and circumcision mukanda, enthronement of the chief.
Sources: Kerchache and "Pende" Z.S.Strother, eds. 5Continents.
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