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Tribal art - Kwese:




Kwésé/Mbala mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Kwésé mask

Ex. collection African tribal art from Belgium.
African mask capped with a skullcap and featuring a face imbued with contemplation. The features are framed by circular ears with detached pavilions. The raffia ornament attached to the base, intended to conceal the wearer, remains preserved. Velvety matt patina, abrasions. Coming from Angola in the 17th century, the Mbala settled in northwestern Zaire and east among the Pelende, Suku, Pende, and Yaka. Formerly matrilineal, they are made up of clans headed by the maternal uncle. The chief was in charge of the ancestor cult, although it was quite limited. Following a retreat of a few days, royal insignia and charms were given to him, intended to combat powers opposing the hunt, social peace, and the crops. The Kwésé are, ...


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Small Kwese Mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Kwese Mask

This small, oval-shaped mask gives off a certain softness thanks to its bulging volumes. The features are highlighted in red, the eyebrows traced with dark pigments. Small ears form a relief on either side of the face. Abrasions. Height on a base: 34 cm.
The Kwé established among other tribes such as the Mbala and the Hungaan, along the banks of the Kwango River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A triumvirate chooses the territorial chiefs on which village chiefs depend. The Kwese mainly grow millet, maize and cassava and fish in local rivers using traps and baskets. Neighbouring ethnic groups strongly influenced the style of their sculpture, sometimes mistakenly attributed to the Pende, Suku or Mbala. In addition to figures representing chiefs, named ngoola and gabundu, they ...


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