Tribal art > African mask > Tabwa mask
Tabwa mask (N° 21986)
Important spherical volume for this cephalomorphic mask, whose linear scarifications composed of small juxtaposed checkerboards radiate from the voluminous ears. Metal teeth are encrusted, cowries form the eyes, separated by a large nose.
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Very beautiful glossy patina, small accidents. Desication cracks.
The Tabwa ("scarify" and "write") constitute an ethnic group present in the South-East of the DRC, around Lake Tanganyika. The tribes of this region, such as the Tumbwe, worship the Mipasi ancestors through sculptures held by chiefs or sorcerers. A magic charge ( dawa) was introduced at the top of the head of the statues. Soothsayers-healers used this type of object to reveal witchcraft and protect against malevolent spirits.
Simple farmers without centralized power, the Tabwa federated around tribal chiefs after being influenced by the Luba, from whom they integrated certain beliefs. The Tabwa practiced the worship of ancestors to whom they dedicated statues. Animists, their beliefs are anchored around the ngulu, spirits of nature present in plants and rocks.