Tribal art > African mask > Hemba masker
Hemba masker (N° 21490)
Exceptional mask of character representing a monkey, and whose power is expressed through features and volumes skillfully rendered. Marks of use, velvety patina, small accidents and abrasions. Residues of red pigments.
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Only two types of Hemba masks have been identified: that of an anthropomorphic type with regular features, whose pointed chin is reminiscent of statuary, and those depicting monkeys,the soko mutu , and whose functions remain little known, but which probably belonged, according to J.Kerchache, to the secret societies bugabo and bambudye . The smallest specimens ( about twenty centimeters) would have been carried in the hand during rites intended for the protection of the home and fertility. In addition to the janiform statuettes kabeja , the statues of male ancestors , kept by the hereditary chief of each clan, the fumu mwalo , are called songiti .
It was during the eighteenth century that the Hemba settled on the vast plains of the right bank of the Lualaba. Their society is composed of large clans from a common ancestor. The discovery of Hemba statuary dates from decolonization and has only recently been differentiated from that of the Luba.
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|Country||rdc ex zaire|
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