Deformity in African tribal art .
Better known than the anthropomorphic sculptures of the Pende, the Mbangu "disease" masks, known as " nosomorphic" masks, illustrate, by their deformed features, the patient in an epileptic seizure or the result of a facial paralysis caused by witchcraft rituals.
In many tribal cultures, epilepsy would be perceived as a divine seal on an individual able to communicate in this way with the spiritual world.
In addition to his face with the features of the Mbangu mask, the figure is flanked by a bulbous goiter and his attitude indicates abdominal pain. Raffia belts and an anklet made of seeds emphasize the sculpture.
The Pende Westerners live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the Easterners have settled on the banks of the Kasai downstream from Tshikapa. The influences of the neighboring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba and Salempasu have been imprinted on their extensive tribal art sculpture. Within this diversity the Mbuya masks , realistic, produced every ten years, take on a festive function, and embody different characters, including the chief fumu or ufumu, the diviner and his wife, the prostitute, the jester, tundu , the possessed, etc...
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