Tribal art > African mask > Kwele Mask
Masque Kwele Ngong (N° 18781)
Variant of the zoomorphic masks associated with the gorilla ancestor, worn by the warlord to assert his authority. Only the upper part of the mask here evokes the skull of the animal. The mask is constructed in geometric flat planes, the eyes deeply sunken under the high skull cap, the nose strong, and the mouth in a thin incision. Contrasting areas, made of kaolin and red clay ochre or padouk wood powder, reinforce the powerful volumes. This mask is also reminiscent of the mbudi masks of the Djabi, also divided into opposite colors, and whose only reliefs are composed of the nose and forehead.
Abraded crusty matte patina, erosions.
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Height on base: 64 cm.
Tribe of the Kota group, the Kwélé , Bakwélé , live in the forest on the northern border of the Republic of Congo. They live from hunting, agriculture and metallurgy. Practicing the cult named Bwété borrowed from the Ngwyes , which was accompanied by obligatory initiation rites, they used at the end of the ceremonies the masks ekuk evoking the antelope whose horns meet in a loop under the chin. The blood of the antelope was also used in the Kwélé for therapeutic purposes. Most masks of the ethnic group are associated with ancestors or spirits of the forest, " ekuk ".
They produce rare statues related to the initiation rites of young people.
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