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Tribal art > African mask > Hemba Mask

Masque Hemba Market Muntu (N° 19436)

The spirit of a primate would be embodied in this Hemba mask split by a broad grin. The nostrils here are largely flattened and overhang a half-open mouth fitted into the large circular jaw. Dark crusty patina.
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, whose functions remain little known, but which probably belonged, according to J. Kerchache, to the secret bugabo and bambudye societies. The smallest specimens (about twenty centimeters) would have been carried by hand during rites intended for the protection of the home and fertility. In addition to the kabeja janiform statuettes, the statues of male ancestors, guarded by the hereditary chief of each clan, the fumu mwalo, are called songiti. It is during the 18th century that the Hemba settled on the vast plains of the right bank of the Lualaba river. 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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Originex-collection E. Caldwell - USA
EthnyHemba
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height28
Width14
Weight0.95 Kg
Estimated dating1ère halfxx°
Socle inclusOptional

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