g6n8m572.jpg (46665 bytes)Ngbaka (Bouaka, Bwaka, Gbaka, Mbaka, Nbaka, Ngbwaka), Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic

Ceremonial Mask. The Ngbaka number 400,000 to 900,000 and live mostly south of the Ubangi River in northwest DRC. Their neighbors to the east are the Ngbandi, with whom they are often in conflict, and, to the south, the Ngome. They practice slash-and-burn agriculture, hunting and fishing, activities always preceded by a sacrifice to the ancestors. There were various mask styles among the Ngbaka and neighboring groups. The diversity developed because northern Zaire was a zone of extreme cultural variety, a result of the intersection of two great ecological systems – the forest and grassland – and several great cultural traditions. Customs appear to have varied widely among Ngbaka from different regions. The masks were used in initiation ceremonies.

Material: wood

Size:  11”x7 1/1”x3”

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