A8B9MM079S.jpg (49534 bytes)A8B9MM079.jpg (39747 bytes)Mbagani (Bambagani), Democratic Republic of the Congo

Initiation mask. The Mbagani people belong to an extinct group, the Mpasu. They migrated to their present location (central-southern part of the DRC) from the east during the 16th century. Economically they survive by farming and, politically, they are organized into small chiefdoms. Very little is known about Mbagani art.   Mbagani carvers are renowned for their statues and by their masks, which are characterized by a pointed chin, enlarged eye spaces painted white set under a domed forehead. According to one source, these masks were probably used in circumcision ceremonies or in society initiations, according to another, to healing ceremonies.

Material:  wood

Size:   H. 12”, W. 8”, D. 6”