TRIBAL AFRICAN ART
BINGI (BINJI, BABINDJI)
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Today the 35,000 Binji are scattered across a vast area along the eastern border of the Kuba kingdom. In this region overrun by innumerable shifts of population, groups of diverse origins coexisted in the same villages: in the identical local one might find Lega, Bemba, Buyu, Bangubangu and Binji, all of whose primary activity would be the hunt. Their origin myth suggests Kuba ancestry. Historically, the Binji people split from the Bushoong clan over a disagreement about the initiation process. Each family has a sanctuary. Binji artists carved rougher-looking helmet masks similar in style to the Bushoong bwoom mask and woven fiber masks used during initiation ceremonies. Masks are powerfully formed, and it has been suggested that one type may be the prototype for the bwoom type of mask of the Kuba. The art forms such as elaborate pipes, cups for palm wine, and oracles in the shape of animals are very like those of the Kuba.
The full range of the Binji style is not yet known.
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