Tribal art > African mask > Masque Kumu
Kumu handle mask, Komo (N° 16653)
This rare African mask comes from Lubutu, Maniema province in R.D.C. It was sculpted equipped with a handle that allowed it to be held by hand during ceremonial dances. Within the large orbits, the pupils surrounded by pink ochre are hollowed out, the nose is marked with notches, the mouth forms a rectangle on which teeth are incised. A raised border demarcates the forehead. Each side is coated with kaolin, the latter forming a thick cracked patina on which scattered mica particles shine. A light, matte wood appears on the surface.
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The Kumu , Bakumu, Komo, live mainly in the North-East and Central Democratic Republic of Congo. Their Bantu language is komo or kikomo. Several ethnic groups are closely intertwined, with similar associations: the Mbole, the Yela, the Lengola, and the Metoko. Their artistic production also has great similarities with that of the Metoko and Lengola. Their divination masks were displayed at the closing ceremonies of the initiation and circumcision of the young people of society nkunda . It is in fact in the Region of Maniema around the Lualaba River and the Great Lakes that the Lega sculpture has exerted its influence. A suit made up of bark textiles and vegetable fibres concealed the wearer. Biebuck reportedly noted a great similarity between the rituals that accompanied the appearance of Kumu masks and those of the masks muminia lega.
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