Tribal art > African mask > Bembe mask
Bembé Ibulu lya alunga mask (N° 20213)
Two pairs of eye sockets, under which a tiny nose and a hole indicating a mouth point, make up this African mask forming two faces. A thick raffia ornament adorns the base, while a panel of cloth conceals the wearer's neck.
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This African mask Ibulu lya 'alunga (head of the alunga) was used during the tribal ritual of the male society Alunga, exercising social control over the clan , and responsible for public dances and ceremonies preceding the hunt.
Evocation of a forest spirit, this tribal mask was kept in sacred caves and it was during the festivals associated with the hunt and ancestor cults that it was displayed.
It also appeared during the circumcision ceremonies of the Bwami.
Semi-satin patina, kaolin residue.
The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba branch that is said to have left the Congo in the 18th century. Their society and artistic tendencies are marked by the influence of their neighbors from the Lake Tanganyika region, the Lega, the Buyu, etc.
Indeed, like the Lega, the Bembe had a bwami association responsible for initiation and structuring the society but while the bwami was exclusive among the Lega, other associations coexisted among the Bembe.