A8L8M676.jpg (43947 bytes)Lwalwa (Balualua, Balwalwa, Lwalu), Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola

Mvongo ceremonial mask. . The land where 20,000 Lwalwa live is rich and fertile, lending itself well to the agricultural economy of the people. Lwalwa art, known mostly by its masks, is the most original in a group of tribes located in the region where the Kasai River marks the border between Zaire and Angola. Sculpting is recognized as a prestigious profession and is usually passed on from father to son. Sculptors are a privileged caste of the community and the Lwalwa are renowned dancers. Masks play an important role in the lives of the Lwalwa. This type of Lwalwa masks shows typical style features: an oval face and a nose extending beyond the protruding mouth to the top of the oval shape. This mask is used for the institution of ngongo, the final part of the first initiation, that of circumcision. The choreography of masked dances was highly complex and had to appease the spirits of the ancestors and compel them to intervene. Masks still play a role today in secular festivities.

Material:  wood

Size: 15”x 8”x5”

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