Tribal art > African mask > Mangbetu Mask
Mangbetu Crest Mask (N° 18882)
African cephalomorphic mask of the Mangbetu people, topped with the traditional flared coiffure, and equipped with ears and a nose pierced with a ring. The lower contours are edged with a thick raffia fringe. Veined oiled wood. Erosions. Satin patina.
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The geometric patterns evoke the body paintings and tribal scarification of the Mangbetu, similar to those of the Asua pygmies with whom the tribe had relations. The latter varied according to circumstances. The Mangbetu had a fan-shaped hairstyle: from a very young age, children had their skulls compressed with raffia ties. Later, the Mangbetu would "knit" their hair on wicker strands and apply a headband to the forehead in order to extract the hair and produce this particular hairstyle which accentuates the lengthening of the head.
The ancients called beli sculptures of ancestors stored out of sight and comparable to those belonging to their secret society nebeli.