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Tribal art > African mask > Kwésé mask

Kwésé/Mbala mask (N° 21097)

Ex. collection African tribal art from Belgium.
African mask capped with a skullcap and featuring a face imbued with contemplation. The features are framed by circular ears with detached pavilions. The raffia ornament attached to the base, intended to conceal the wearer, remains preserved. Velvety matt patina, abrasions. Coming from Angola in the 17th century, the Mbala settled in northwestern Zaire and east among the Pelende, Suku, Pende, and Yaka. Formerly matrilineal, they are made up of clans headed by the maternal uncle. The chief was in charge of the ancestor cult, although it was quite limited. Following a retreat of a few days, royal insignia and charms were given to him, intended to combat powers opposing the hunt, social peace, and the crops. The Kwésé are, meanwhile, established among other tribes such as the Mbala and the Hungaan, along the banks of the Kwango River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their sculpture is inspired by that of their neighbors and sometimes made by the Mbalas at the request of the Kwese.

Ref : "L'Art africain" ed. Mazenod ; "Trésors d'Afrique" (p.309) ed. Musée de Tervuren ; "Art tribal d'Afrique noire." JB Bacquart; "Umbangu, Art du Congo au Musée Royal du Congo Belge" ed. Cultura.  

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OriginEx.. coll. belge L. Van Liere
EthnyKwese
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, raphia
Height31
Width17
Weight1.58 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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