TRIBAL AFRICAN ART

MBAGANI (BAMBAGANI)

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Mbagani people belong to the extinct group, the Mpasu. They migrated to their present location from the east during the 16th century. They are influenced by the southern neighbors, the Lunda, and were almost colonized by Chokwe at the end of the 19th century. Economically, they survive by farming, and politically they are organized into small chiefdoms. Mbagani carvers are renown for their beautiful carved statues and masks which are characterized by very large eye spaces painted white, coffee-bean eyes under the domed forehead, a quite pointed chin, a protruding mouth, a triangular nose. These masks were probably used in circumcision ceremonies or in society initiations. Another source says that these masks are related to healing ceremonies.      

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