Kasai Pende (Eastern
Pende), Democratic Republic of the Congo
500,000 Pende people form about sixty little territorial groups, the two most
important being Kwilu and Kasai.
group comprises several clans and each is headed by a chief whose main function is
religious. He is a mediator with the ancestors who are the sources of health, fecundity
and fertility of the people. The Pende are mainly farmers who produce millet, maize,
plantain, and peanuts. The women do the majority of the farm work and are wholly
responsible for selling goods in the community markets. The men help with the clearing of
the fields and also contribute to the diet with occasional hunting and fishing in the
numerous local rivers. The sculptors profession is transmitted from father to son.
The presented mask is a circumcision mask. These masks are numerous and have usually
triangular face. The manner in which the eyes are carved is an important element in
determining the ceremonial category of the mask. The eyes range from tubular shapes to
horizontally elongated forms, as is the case here.
Size: H. 11½, W. 5½, D. 2½