Tribal art > African mask > Bembe mask
Bembe mask (N° 22412)
Ample orbits marked with a cross pattern, symbolizing the cardinal points, form the walls of this African mask. A raffia or papyrus adornment was attached to the outlines.
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This African mask Ibulu lya 'alunga (head of the alunga) was used during the tribal ritual of the male Alunga society, exercising a social control over the clan, and responsible for public dances and ceremonies preceding the hunt.
Evocation of a spirit of the forest, this tribal mask was kept in sacred caves and it was during festivals associated with hunting and ancestor cults that it was exhibited. They also appeared during the Bwami circumcision ceremonies. Locally cracked grainy patina. Internal erosion.
The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba branch that left the Congo in the 18th century. Their society and artistic tendency are marked by the influence of their neighbors in the Lake Tanganyika region, the Lega, the Buyu, etc.