Tribal art > African mask > Hemba Mask
Hemba Mask (N° 14783)
The Hemba are a subgroup of the Luba ethnic group living in southeastern Dr. Congo, east of the Lualaba River, best known for their statuary representing chiefs. The pieces called soko mutu , suku muntu , (from Swahili," man's brother", and KiHemba, ibombo ya soho : "face de singe") belonged to the cult of ancestors and existed in two forms: on the one hand large masks used in ritual dances, and on the other hand, small masks or statuettes used as gifts, were hung in the boxes as protective amulets. These masks have recently been renamed mwisi gwa so'o , which expresses a concept that it is a chimpanzee spirit that would be embodied in the mask. This type of mask seems to be a version with human features. The broad, grimacing mouth forms a horizontal gap in the lower part. The eyes are surrounded by parallel grooves like the ridge of the busted nose marked by a linear scarification. Ritual anointings printed a film film on the surface of the object. Scattered abrasions with xylophages. Slight cracks. Source: Art and life in Africa , C D. Roy. and "The other face" ed. Adam Biro.
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