African art > African mask > Lwalu Mask
African masks Lwalwa, Lwalu.
It is near the Kasai River that the Lwalwa live, between Angola and Zaire. Historically having a matrilineal society, the Lwalwa, after being influenced luba and songye, adopted a patrilineal system within their rudimentary political and social organization. The male mask nkaki, nkaaki, carved from wood mulela, is one of four types of masks produced by the privileged caste formed by their sculptors. These craftsmen, according to their merits, can become conductors and organize dances, including the balango, during which acrobatics are performed by young dancers. These masks are then displayed, or worn during initiation ceremonies, or to soothe the spirits after an unsuccessful hunt.
A conical hairstyle painted with geometric patterns overcomes a ...